Shepard Fairey’s DAMAGED in Chinatown

Shepard Fairey’s DAMAGED in Chinatown

Even the biggest haters in the loves-to-hate street art scene have to respect Shepard Fairey’s execution, dedication, and giving a shit. All of these aspects of the artist’s work are on display for the public to see at DAMAGED, a one-person gallery show presented by Library Street Collective in the industrial outskirts of Chinatown.

I see Fairey’s work wheat-pasted all over the streets of Los Angeles where I live, and the show nicely puts these pieces in context. The guy who famously made Obama’s HOPE image–and subsequently got sued by AP for using one of their photos as a source material without permission and almost lost everything for it–has never stopped working at his craft, which marries graphic design, vandalism, and activism. As a result he’s still getting busted for wheat-pasting art in public places and still making a difference.

While reflecting Fairey’s evolution from stickering Andre The Giant’s face everywhere into more nuanced pieces that reflect the best and worst aspects and examples of humanity–art and rebellion vs. racism, sexism, corporate greed, environmental terrorism–the show brings some of his key pieces into three dimensions and provides more detailed propaganda in the form of a free newspaper called The Damaged Times. Somewhere between the no-bullshit street culture celebration of Glen E. Friedman and full-on leftist liberal attack of Robbie Conal stands Shepard Fairey, and those two are actually featured in a documentary that streams in a viewing room as well as Hulu.

DAMAGED is named after a Black Flag record and opened on 11/11, which references the hardcore band’s bars logo, but actually had way more Clash on the playlist when we visited. The free exhibition is open from Wednesday through Sundays until December 17.

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