Next month, Shepard Fairey debuts first NYC solo show since 2010

An arresting display of artistry

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JONATHAN BONCEK
  • Jonathan Boncek
Famed street artist Shepard Fairey made the news again yesterday, but unlike his run-in with the law earlier this summer, this news seems to bode well for the Charleston native. Fairey will hold his first New York gallery show in five years on Sep. 18 at the Jacob Lewis Gallery, showcasing his series of mixed-media paintings, On Our Hands. 

Fairey talked to New York Times magazine about the upcoming show, saying that despite 25 years as an artist he still seeks to "question everything." "I'm not trying to seduce people with an image, I'm trying to snap them out of a trance," he says. The Times article compares Fairey to Rauschenberg, an American mixed-media artist whose experimental approach had a big impact on 20th century postmodernism.

Rauschenberg looked to all kinds of everyday objects for source material, and Fairey is starting to go that route, with his newer works showing a depth and physical layers that his previously (very recognizable) pieces may have lacked. You know a Shepard Fairey piece when you see a Shepard Fairey piece; the Times acknowledges that while Fairey's pieces still look like traditional Fairey, "the process ... has become considerably more complex."



How does a street muralist, with a history of arrest warrants, end up in gallery in Chelsea? For Fairey, the public spaces of street art are just as important as the more intimate setting of a gallery. He says, "A gallery opening ... can be a safe place for people to come together, take in the archetypes that I present, and use them to work out ideas they were perhaps previously unable to articulate."

If you're in New York between Sep. 18 and Oct. 24, you can see Fairey's new exhibit at Jacob Lewis Gallery (521 W 26th St.)

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