KAWS' anxiously anticipated new show “The Long Way Home,” opened its doors to an absolutely massive crowd at HONOR FRASER gallery in LA last nite, with a queue that wrapped entirely around the block (and then some) for the duration of the frenzied two-hour opening. KAWS' incredibly well behaved legion of faithful followers did their best to make the Brooklyn-based artist feel welcome in his first west coast solo exhibition that featured new paintings (the largest of which went to collector and Supertouch buddy Lance Armstrong), sculptures, a 20" solid bronze Chum figure and a new series of "Kurfs" and Spongebob package paintings that were spoken for well before the opening festivities kicked off.Read More
TAG, THIS ARTIST IS DEFINITELY IT
KAWS becomes a brand name as his images appear on hip-hoppers' clothes and on gallery walls.
By Chris Lee
February 21, 2009, LATimes
Over the course of a career that has variously infuriated anti-graffiti task force officers and enthralled Japanese street couture collectors—meaning winning props from hip-hop superstars Kanye West and Pharrell Williams—the pop artist KAWS has carved a unique niche for himself. The soft-spoken 34-year-old Jersey City native, born Brian Donnelly, created a new business model that bridges the high-low culture divide in ways that would have made steam come out of Andy Warhol's ears.
By parlaying vandalism into a brand identity as a purveyor of mass-produced collectible toys, KAWS became a bona fide subculture celebrity with a recognizable presence in street fashion.
But now, KAWS is at a career turning point. In spite of his renown in subcultural circles (which galleristas and museum directors have historically snobbed), he is now being mentioned in the same breath as pop art luminaries, such as Takashi Murakami, Keith Haring and Jeff Koons. And while KAWS has proven himself perfectly capable of trafficking his own pop offerings—on skateboard decks, stickers, T-shirts and sneakers—KAWS has infiltrated the rarefied world of institutional art after being held at arm's distance from it for much of his career. Pretty fly for a graf guy.
"When I grew up, I never thought I could enter a gallery," KAWS said over lunch at Chateau Marmont this week. "I looked at them as these pretentious places that did not welcome me." Click HERE to continue reading...
This morning, SHEPARD FAIREY appeared in Roxbury District Court in Boston where he pleaded not guilty to vandalizing property in the city and was released on personal recognizance after his arraignment. He still faces charges in a separate case for other alleged vandalism that he will appear at Brighton District Court to enter a plea on soon. Meanwhile, read more about Shepard's Boston arrest at the BOSTON PHOENIX & THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
RELATED STORY: "Timing questioned by artist in arrests," Boston Herald
The drama heats up in SHEPARD FAIREY's fight with the ASSOCIATED PRESS after the agency filed a lawsuit last week claiming rights to the artist's BARACK OBAMA campaign imagery after learning the work was based on an existing AP photo. Today, THE FAIR USE PROJECT at STANFORD LAW SCHOOL’S CENTER FOR INTERNET AND SOCIETY (who is working Fairey's case pro bono) and San Francisco-based law firm DURIE TANGRI LEMLEY ROBERTS & KENT LLP filed a counter suit against the Associated Press on Fairey's behalf:
"The Fair Use Project at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society and San Francisco-based Durie Tangri Lemley Roberts & Kent LLP filed a lawsuit today against the Associated Press (AP) on behalf of Shepard Fairey and his production company Obey Giant Art, Inc. in connection with the series of iconic works Fairey created to support the candidacy of President Barack Obama.
Last week, the AP accused Fairey of infringing copyrights it says it holds in a photograph that was taken of Barack Obama by photographer Mannie Garcia at the National Press Club in 2006. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, seeks a declaration from the Court holding that Fairey did not infringe AP’s copyrights in creating the now-famous Obama Hope poster and other related works, as well as an injunction against further assertion of copyrights by the AP against Fairey or anyone else who displays his work.
“There should be no doubt about the legality of Fairey's work,” said Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project and lecturer in law at Stanford Law School, who is leading Fairey’s legal team. “He used the photograph for a purpose entirely different than the original, and transformed it dramatically. The original photograph is a literal depiction of Obama, whereas Fairey's poster creates powerful new meaning and conveys a radically different message that has no analogue in the original photograph. Nor has Fairey done any harm to the value of the original photograph. Quite the opposite; Fairey has made the photograph immeasurably more valuable.” Click HERE to continue reading...
In a move seemingly made especially for the WTF?!? Files, mass market home furnishings retailer CRATE & BARREL has recently made available for sale an ink-on-canvas print of a photograph of the Coney Island snack shop signs hand painted by STEPHEN POWERS (aka: ESPO) back in 2005 as part of CREATIVE TIME's Coney renovation project, THE DREAMLAND ARTISTS CLUB. Shot by photographer ERIN CLARK, the image is available through the company's "hip" CB2 imprint for the rock bottom price of $249 USD and comes signed by the photographer with a list of the Clark's accomplishments printed on the reverse, yet curiously, no mention of Stephen Powers or the Dreamland Artists Club:
"Hot diggety dog. Armed with a camera and an appetite for nostalgia, artist and NY native Erin Clark captured this kitschy Coney Island summer tableau. Reproduced in ink on canvas and stretched on a wood frame for hanging. Artist signature; bio on back informs Clark's work has been shown in various solo and group exhibitions.
Collectors take note: This one-time-only limited edition of prints will not be re-issued, so don't miss out.
•A kitschy detail shot reminiscent of childhood summers
•Printed on high-quality canvas
HAVE A LOOK (and buyer beware): Read More
Supertouch's own SHEPARD FAIREY was arrested for alleged vandalism claims while attempting to enter the grand public opening of his first museum solo show at the INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART/BOSTON last nite. Currently he's out on bail and awaiting a court appearance in Boston on Monday:
"A street artist famous for his red, white and blue "Hope" posters of President Obama was arrested in Boston, where he was wanted on warrants for tagging property with graffiti.
Shepard Fairey, 38, was arrested Friday night on his way to the Institute of Contemporary Art. Fairey was scheduled to deejay a kickoff event at the museum for his first-ever solo exhibition, called "Supply and Demand."
Two warrants were issued for Fairey on Jan. 24 after police determined he’d tagged property in two locations with graffiti based on the Andre the Giant street art campaign from his early career, Boston Police Officer James Kenneally said Saturday.
Fairey, of Los Angeles, is scheduled to be arraigned on the misdemeanor charges Monday in Brighton District Court, said Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk District Attorney. Wark said Fairey would also be arraigned on a default warrant related to a separate graffiti case in the Roxbury section of Boston.
Fairey has spent the last two weeks in the Boston area installing the ICA exhibit, giving public talks 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 ICA.
The museum described the reason for Fairey’s arrest as "his efforts posting his art in various areas around the city."
"We believe Shepard Fairey has made an important contribution in the history of art and to popular thinking about art and its role in society," the statement said. "We are enthusiastic to be working with him and are pleased to be showing the first museum retrospective of his work."
The museum said Fairey was released a few hours after his arrest, but that could not immediately be confirmed by authorities. A California lawyer who has represented Fairey in the copyright case didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the arrest." Click HERE to continue reading...
Supertouch’s own billboard liberator RON ENGLISH was a busy man this election season, canvassing the US plastering copies of his graphically disturbing “Abraham Obama” hybrid portrait on city walls across the expanse of this great country. On hand to capture it all was director KEVIN CHAPADOS whose created the documentary film “Abraham Obama” to chronicle Ronnie’s great political journey including run-ins with like-minded counter culturalists Morgan Spurlock, The Date Farmers, Shepard Fairey, Jack Medicine, David Choe, Sam Flores, and DJ Z-Trip along the way. The film will premiere at San Francisco’s Roxie Theater on Sunday, February 15th at 12:30pm, with an additional screening on Wednesday, February 18th at 7:30pm. Don’t sleep…
Our own SHEPARD FAIREY has been a near constant presence on Supertouch of late, but what can we say, the last year has belonged to him. Capping off an epic string of career milestones beginning with his street level branding of the Obama campaign to being inducted into the Smithsonian and the attendant media blitz that ensued–most famously with his appearances on The Colbert Report and Charlie Rose, Ol' Shep managed to cap it all off last nite with the VIP preview of his career retrospective art show "Supply & Demand" at the INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART/BOSTON. Of course there were even more media microphones and cameras there (that's after doing two days of press before hand), but this time so was his loyal legion of diehard fans, which made it all worthwhile. Just to up the irony factor, local government just unveiled a massive Shepard mural outside the entrance of historic City Hall with the Mayor presiding over the occasion. Looks like art crime pays after all. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
2009 really is SHEPARD FAIREY's year; we're just living in it. On the eve of today's press preview of his massive retrospective art show at the INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART/BOSTON, Shepard spoke to CHARLIE ROSE last nite about the intricacies of branding a presidential campaign from street level.
The eyes of the world are on Kenya... French outdoor installation artist (call it “street art” if you must) extraordinaire JR continues his epic 28 MILLIMETER: WOMEN Project with the unveiling this week of his most ambitious stage yet in KIBERA, KENYA. Reconnecting with the subjects he photographed over a year ago in the city—one of the largest slums in Africa—at the start of his mission to portray on a grand scale the unseen and unempowered women of the world, the reunion was an especially poignant moment for the artist. With the help of enthusiastic residents, JR managed to cover 2,000 square meters of local rooftops with photos of the eyes and faces of the women of Kibera, giving them a monumental voice and presence in a city where their own existence is often marginalized.Read More