. . . well, we feel a little conflicted on this. definitely feel FAIREY was at a point in his career, where he should have contacted the AP about using their OBAMA photo, which was taken by AP press lensman MANNY GARCIA. He should have gotten copyright authorization, and paid a user (franchise use) fee.

but, now it seems they . . . well, BOSTON is going after FAIREY for his (past) street work !!
from the NEW YORK POST SATURDAY, FEB 8, 2009:
“. . . SHEPARD FAIREY, was busted in Boston Friday on two outstanding graffiti warrants, authorities said. The 38-year-old artist and activist is expected to be arraigned tomorrow.”

however, to have the powers that be – go after him, for his street art, esp in the past, that’s not something we wish on him, nor support. you can’t deny the power of his imagery. Graffiti is a tough issue. we don’t like to see public buildings or fountains marked up, make that mucked up, by idiot drunk teens. and we don’t want see any more 13 yr. olds squished on the train tracks.

but a lot of beautiful stuff blooms, from those illegal pastures.

it’s a complete irony, and not an easily settled one, it’s one of those no-win conflicts – that are almost, well, that are exactly – biblical in nature. freedom of expression vs. the “man”. I guess the intrinsic American way is, freedom of expression trumps all, even if it means seedy porn on the TV right beside the religion channel. and, right on. yo, this is a country whose founding fathers were rebels.
Just don’t steal content or photos, dude !!

and, it was no accident that OBAMA HOPE spoke to the hearts of many, OBEY GIANT, paved the way !!

from the Giant’s own wiki page: the OBEY MANIFESTO !!
“The Obey campaign can be explained as an experiment in Phenomenology. The first aim of Phenomenology is to reawaken a sense of wonder about one’s environment. The Obey campaign attempts to stimulate curiosity and bring people to question both the campaign and their relationship with their surroundings. Because people are not used to seeing advertisements or propaganda for which the motive is not obvious, frequent and novel encounters with Obey propaganda provoke thought …
The medium is the message.”

and let me tell y’all, if you think this is just about street art. WRONG.
first of all OBAMA got elected.
second: street art is a definite going currency in today’s art market. a lot of contemporary art galleries would love to be doing the kind of business SHEPARD FAIREY is, single-handedly !!
he is the un-corporate – new age corporate. as in big bucks i-n-d-u-s-t-r-y. the JEFF KOONS of the day. he is making money hand over fist. you can only sit back, and wish, that could be you !!
His slogan – ‘PROPAGANDA ENGINEERING’ – that may as well be – PANDA BEAR ENGINEERING, FAIREY’S got his stuff locked-down, so well .. forget JEFF KOONS, he’s almost the CIRQUE DU SOLEIL !


obey logo

some early OBEY PHOTOS from the artlovers archives: NYC, 1998.

OBEY 1998 # 1

OBEY 1998 # 2
(we always liked them – because we thought they looked like ALFREDO MARTINEZ, he of the notorious BASQUIAT scam, that landed MARTINEZ in federal prison for 2 years, and who previously ran the gun shooting ‘gallery’ at the JOSH HARRIS – MILLENNIUM – QUIET PARTY !! Alfredo’s criminal arc – was his solution to when the dot com world went bust and Josh’s money fizzled out.)

as for POSTER BOY !!
aka HENRY MATYJEWICZ, 27 – according to the NEW YORK POST, finally worth its daily cost of 50 cents, he left court yesterday. Apparently he “rejected an arrangement in which he would plead guilty to the top charge of criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, and perform 100 hours of community service. Instead, he’ll be back in court in April to face the possibility of trial, which could land him in jail for up to a year.” it’s hard to prove these charges. (the only way they got Alfredo locked up – was – he sent images in a UPS delivery over state lines in an undercover sting. in other words they got him on wire transfer fraud, not art fraud per se. you had to be at the trial, what can I say. Alfredo is a born pathological liar, which didn’t help, and his public defender was the biggest idiot to walk the face of the earth, I mean courthouse.) In fact, he, MARTINEZ, even once put (handmade replica) life-size heavy artillery guns on CANAL St, that the cops had to tow away, and which even made the Post,and for which he never got into any legal trouble, whatsoever. no undercover cops ever infiltrated the many openings he was down at. and at the point he even had the arrest record.it was only when he had flooded the art market with phony, Basquiats – that they, meaning certain, pretty shady themselves, dealers, pursued him. it’s a matter of public record, so why not name names – and that would be LEO (LIO) MALKA.

well, back to POSTER BOY, obviously tearing up and defacing subway posters, as opposed to simply pasting or tagging, is a big business no-no. but bottomline it all comes down to the lawyers. and your community status. i.e. class. an (unintended) telling statement in the POST article:
“Of course it was rejected,” his lawyer Kerry Gotlib, said of the plea-deal offer, adding that his client is a “well-educated, well-spoken citizen.” !!

as for the cops busting ‘graffiti’ artists through undercover means – that sucks. if they catch you in the act, that’s bad. but going to the galleries, is such a joke. as the above obviously makes clear. very hard, if not impossible to prove in court. and then you get 100 hours of community service and publicity worth a million bucks ? the cops are basically making the market. putting the pot of gold at-the-end-of-the-bust … an in-play guarantee. and why shut down the only art that is actually making any money in the city. (well that’s not really true, but it sounds good. but the market for street art has seen a renaissance of late). I mean its kind of a mote point, anyways, as by the time these guys are in a gallery they are going gallery legit, anyways. it’s how they get off the streets, not stay on it – stupid.

I mean if you know the art world, just a little bit, you’ll immediately see how stupid and unbelievably ludicrous, as in dumb brute – the cops are. case in point, MICHAEL NEVIN. I’ve been to many galleries that have had the cops show up, usually for patrons drinking on the street outside crowded gallery openings, (their M.O. is they drive up in ‘undercover’ yellow taxis in Manhattan, they’ve been doing this for decades. in Brooklyn, they arrive en masse in squad vans), but the only person who has EVER gotten arrested so far, apart from the above staked-out & stalked POSTER BOY/so-called ad vandal – was the most unlikely, and absolutely least deserving to be hassled – MICHAEL NEVIN, founding editor of THE JOURNAL, one of New York City’s most respected, and most ‘academic’ contemporary art publications, and a straight up, right-up guy, if I ever did see one. I don’t want to diss Michael, but – street, he is not !! He’s as much about street – as DASH SNOW is. and, that’s even insulting Dash !! He’s not even an artist. Michael Nevin goes nowhere near even playing street artist, he doesn’t tag a dog, let alone a street. he publishes a bonafide art journal, and let me tell ya, there is obviously some serious funding, as in social class & money, behind that venture, though I guess that’s none of our business. its just obviously a cutting edge high-production hard copy publication, with great full color reproductions, and that takes a certain amount of dough. and serious dedication, is all. and it is a wonderful asset to the scene. I guess, how were the arresting cops supposed to know this. (maybe we should all have our education, class & tax returns, tattooed into the insides of our wrists in case of NYPD arrest ?) The opening wasn’t even that wild, if wild at all. there were allusions to black leather jackets, on the wall, could that be it ? just the art was kind of tough, as inpretty edgey and pretty smart. and, it most definite wasn’t street art, or even handmade replica heavy artillery guns !! I don’t recall the cops even stepping into the gallery, come to think of it. turns out they had not one good reason to bust him. after the fact, they made some kind of phony double talk, like he had an outstanding warrant – or so, they thought – but turned out, it was for someone else, with the same name. but, he got tossed in the Tombs and the lack of oversight and how scary it is to be in that system, did traumatize him enough, that he did write about it.

MICHAEL NEVINS wrote an EDITOR’S NOTE about being busted by the NYPD, in THE JOURNAL ENTRY No. 24.
here’s the link article: THE JOURNAL Entry No. 24

and, if you know the police system here, in NYC, you’ll know getting busted for any reason, but esp if there are no legal grounds, is no joke. cause you will be treated like the biggest filth with no rights that ever walked the face of the earth. they have no radar for good or bad. you are all dirt. the cops and ‘civil servants’ who process you, are more brutal and mind bendingly stupid than the threatening wolf packs who are your cellmates. no, I haven’t been in there. but I have heard many firsthand stories. and QUEENS is the worst precinct to get busted in, of all. you know you are in no man’s land, a hold-over from medieval times – or KAFKA – when the cops that jump ya – make you feel like you are being kidnapped off the streets for ransom or worse, and then you end up in a whole hell world gone wrong, a courthouse of brutal zombies, and we are talking about the employees that run the place from the gum-chewing long & painted finger nailed, big haired bottle blonde female security guards all the way up to the slobby judges – all paid for by your tax dollars, and getting those awesome, you can only dream of, guaranteed city pensions, who don’t wear their name badges, (take a random walk into that place, any day – I dare you to come up with one employee wearing their federally mandated name badge) – and believe me – there is a reason why – they don’t want you to know who they are. If, you are in there trying to get a friend out, (yes, I was was) all the ‘locals’ in line – advise you “to cool it” and tell you scary first-hand stories about how the cops plant drugs in your car if you try to retaliate, don’t even think of making a civilian review board complaint.
NYC home of the brave.

nevins # 1

Nevins # 2
MICHAEL NEVIN, of THE JOURNAL, busted for absolutely no reason, by the WILLIAMSBURG, BROOKLYN NYPD. New York City’s FINEST. AUGUST 14th, 2008.

well, let’s change the topic from rant to rave. it was a great show !! MICHAEL GRIFFIN, ‘Count Thy Buttons’. I guess, the little bit of word play – was too much for the NYPD.