Tuesday, April 27, 2010

About Those Holes

Yesterday, the New York Times' ArtsBeat Blog followed up on the recent attacks on Shepard Fairey's Houston Wall mural, asking if this weekend's puncture should "be considered an attack... Is it mere hooliganism? Or is it, in the vein of Mr. Fairey’s friend Banksy, all an elaborate stunt?"

Blogger Melena Ryzik spoke to Mr. Fairey, who has not seen the damage. He said he expected to see tags and stickers and such on the work, “Because I’m straddling the line between all these different worlds--the fine art world, the street art world, commercial design, fashion--I think I’m a target for a lot of narrow-minded people who just aren’t comfortable with my multi-platform approach."

“If that’s how they express their view is by vandalizing my mural, that’s fair. I assume that they think that putting a bullet hole through it is a clever interactive addition, which I actually agree with.”

Animal New York shows a later photo with more holes--mine (both above) were taken on Saturday night--which means there may be more than one rock-tosser.

Fairey's straddling does seem to be stirring up feelings. It's good to live in a world where artists can make money and have a wide audience for their work. And yet there seems to be a line that gets crossed in the hearts of their fans. Is it when they design shopping bags for Saks? And what does it mean when their approved canvas includes controversial walls, like the ones on the Cooper Square Hotel and the Ace Hotel?


I'm an admirer of Fairey's work, especially the early Andre the Giant viral stuff, but about all this, I have mixed emotions. I feel for Fairey, but I also understand the rock-tossers' motivation.

Earlier this month I wondered if the Houston Wall, once Deitch is done with it, will fall back into the hands of renegades. Maybe it already has. The best thing Fairey and Deitch can do is to allow the mural to become street--let the taggers, rock-tossers, and sticker bombers do their thing. Let the layers pile up, let it become an organic urban collage. Just let it be.

In any case, Fairey's team will be out to Houston soon to fill in those holes.

Fairey Gets Targeted
Buffing Mr. Brainwash
Revs/Cost Vanishing


Anonymous said...

The holes are ON THE TARGET - come on Fairey, this work is asking for it. It's going to look even better disintegrating - ashes to ashes. I'm surprised you mentioned Andre the Giant but not Obama's poster - I truly believe it helped win the election. That is to say, I'm a tentative fan - but this preciousness around ground level street art is hypocritical, not to mention boring - at least the Saks ads didn't pretend to be anything but commerce. - BN

KSx said...

"...narrow-minded people who just aren’t comfortable with my multi-platform approach."

Spoken like a true capitalist. And the Ace Hotel is a perfect fit, leeching off a neighborhood's character while killing it.

3 Fingers Brown said...

Who cares aside from the wealthy art patrons who buy this crap? I had an Andre The Giant sticker on my notebook in HS. Now he's selling Mr. President. Big F'n deal. NY's lost it's soul to commerce? Shocking!