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“Hope” Artist Shepard Fairey Arrested Outside His Museum Show, Charged with Graffiti

3250939205_f6bf7da8b8.jpgLast 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.

Fairey is currently embroiled in a copyright dispute with the Associated Press over the image used in the campaign poster.

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Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.

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