NEWS///THE NY TIMES ON SHEPARD FAIREY’S FIGHT WITH BOSTON LEGAL

March 19, 2009  |  art, Boston, Graffiti, News, Shepard Fairey, Street Art

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BOSTON VANDALISM CHARGES STIR DEBATE ON ART’S PLACE

By Abby Goodnough, NYTimes

BOSTON — This may be the only place in America where Shepard Fairey, the street artist whose omnipresent portrait of Barack Obama has become a touchstone, is not fully feeling the love.

Mr. Fairey appeared in two municipal courts here this week to fight a cascade of vandalism charges accusing him of pasting his work on public and private property from the Back Bay to Roxbury. While this is not his first encounter with the police — Mr. Fairey has been arrested more than a dozen times for posting his art on whatever surface catches his eye — it appears to be his biggest legal tangle to date.

By Wednesday, Mr. Fairey, who lives in Los Angeles, had pleaded not guilty to one misdemeanor and 13 felony charges; his lawyer said the police were pursuing 19 more counts.

In a statement Tuesday, Mr. Fairey accused the police of “gratuitous piling on” and suggested he was being punished for advocating that public space “should be filled with more than just commercial advertising.” On the advice of his lawyer, Jeffrey Wiesner, he declined an interview request.

Mr. Fairey’s court appearances came a month after he was arrested on Feb. 6 as he arrived at the opening-night party for his retrospective at the Institute of Contemporary Art. His cab was approaching the museum when the police stopped it, handcuffed him and took him to jail overnight. Click HERE to continue reading…

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