Artist Shepard Fairey, creator of the now globally famous Obama "Hope" poster, was arrested Friday night, prior to the opening of his first major career retrospective at Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston. Mr. Fairey was going about his usual biz of plastering local streets with his art when local cops, not realizing they had a genius in their midst, nabbed him on warrants accusing him of tagging property with graffiti. He was released in time to make the opening party for his show, and will be arraigned today for the Friday night offense in Brighton District Court, as well as for an older default warrant related to a separate graffiti case in the Roxbury section of Boston.
Mr. Fairey has been in Boston for the last two weeks, installing the ICA exhibit and creating outdoor art, including a 20-by-50 foot banner on the side of City Hall, according to a statement issued Saturday by the museum. We're not exactly sure why the cops were so interested, unless perhaps they're either art haters or art collectors, and were just takin' the opportunity to get some free Fairey swag. The arrest will do little other than bump up Mr. Fairey's already high-profile career, as will the Associated Press copyright infringement lawsuit over usage of the photo that inspired the "Hope" image. The original art work for the "Hope" poster was installed at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in early January. In pic: Your intrepid blogger at the Smithsonian with their newest acquisition, during The Inauguration. The line for thrilled museum visitors to take pix with the Fairey work was often two hours long, according to the stressed-out museum guard we queried.
Mr. Fairey has designed a lovely set of plates (pic at top of post) that are absolutely perfect for serving all those Obama foods that have been created since Bam became the world's fave famous person. The Fairey Obama plates are available exclusively at the design website The Future Perfect, and are $89 per red and blue pair. They'll look swell mixed in with all your Lincoln china.
As a side note, Mr. Fairey has previously been arrested about a kabillion times. Below is his awesome mugshot, courtesy of Supertouch Art, from his arrest during the Democratic National Convention, when he was arrested plastering the snowy streets of Denver with his work. Later, the Obama Team asked him for permission to use his work for the official Inauguration poster.
*The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston retrospective Shepard Fairey: Supply and Demand runs through Aug. 16, 2009.