Shepard Fairey is pretty much a household name these days. Especially in Pittsburgh. Just drive down Penn Avenue, or look around downtown. The Los Angeles-based street artist has made his mark on Pittsburgh [literally] with a plethora of murals — both in time for last month’s G-20 Economic Summit, and the opening of his 20 year retrospective “Supply & Demand” on Sunday at the Warhol.
Last night, I got a sneak peak at the exhibition — the artist’s first solo show — (still amidst installation). Well, to say it exceeded my expectations would be an understatement. Famous for his red, white and blue Obama campaign image, Fairey’s most popular piece certainly got him his 15 minutes. But like any artist with real cred behind the hype, this top 40 hit only hints at the magic behind his legacy of work.
To really appreciate Fairey’s work, you need to experience them in real life. No reproduced image will give these works the justice they deserve. Layering, nuance, juxtaposition of delicacy and power, form and pattern….all of these elements add up to a museum full of provocative work — art that compels the viewer, not only conceptually, but also visually. Fairey is clearly a master at balancing message and aesthetics.
Pittsburgh is fortunate to have such a stellar collection of contemporary work at its immediate disposal. So, if you like beautiful art, do as you are told. Check out this exhibition. You will be moved.
Locations for Shepard Fairey’s Pittsburgh Mural Project for Shepard Fairey: Supply and Demand: Google Maps