Last night, artist Shepard Fairey was arrested in Boston on two outstanding warrants as he was about to enter a sold-out dance event at the Institute of Contemporary Art. The event was the kick off to his ICA show Shepard Fairey: Supply & Demand.
He was charged with two counts of damage to property, i.e. graffiti–the art form for which he is best known. Local anti-graffiti activists had complained that the artist was the subject of a museum show.
The charges stem from last month when he’d painted his "Andre The Giant" graffiti near an entrance to the Massachusetts Turnpike and the Boston University bridge across the Charles River.
Because of his arrest, Fairey was unable to DJ the opening party which was such a hot event that tickets were scalped on Craigslist for up to $500.
Fairey attended Rhode Island School of Design, graduating in 1992. The artist made a street name for himself while in college when he launched the "Obey" series of stickers and posters plastered up throughout the Boston area.
During the 2008 presidential campaign Fairey–who had designed album covers for the Black Eyed Peas, Led Zeppelin, and the Smashing Pumpkins along with the poster the the movie Walk the Line–created the iconic Hope poster for the Obama campign. He distributed hundreds of thousands of copies of the posters and stickers for free, funding them through sales of his fine art. His portrait of Obama was featured on the cover of TIME magazine and the original hangs in the National Gallery.
His triumphant show at the Institute of Contemporary Art had been announced with banners at City Hall and Fairey was recently seen with Mayor Thomas M. Menino promoting the exhibition. The opening weekend is full of festivities and artist talks including a joint lecture series on the subject of design as an agent for social change.