Submitted by Henry
on January 13, 2010 - 7:15pm
One of the many highlights of my first semester in LA was the chance to see and meet Shepard Fairey. who I regard as one of the most significant visual artists of our times and a focal point for debates about the politics/poetics of appropriation and fair use. Fairey spoke on stage with my new colleague, Sarah Banet-Weiser.
I have been following Fairey for some time since he was an art student at the Rhode Island School of Design and "Andre the Giant has a Posse" stickers started to appear on lamp posts and underpasses around Boston. At first, I envisioned the stickers as a new kind of fan art -- since I was deeply into the World Wrestling Federation at the time -- and only gradually came to understand them as a form of culture jamming. Now, having seen and talked with the guy, I suspect they were an odd blurring between the two -- a bold experiment in tapping the power of participatory culture to spread images across the planet and relying on local contexts to shape what those images meant to participants. Pretty cool.