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Shepard Fairey Comes to Town

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 30, 2011 3:00PM

Artist Shepard Fairey, whose best known for the Barack Obama "Hope" artwork that became an indelible part of the 2008 Obama Presidential campaign, is in town for Art Chicago, where he's installed a piece in the Merchandise Mart's South Lobby. While in town, More Fairey artwork, including his other notable piece of work, the Andre the Giant-inspired "Obey" artwork, has popped up around town in the form of graffiti tags. Some of those tags have been tagged themselves.

Fairey hasn't tagged in Chicago since 2003 and given his stature and renown these days the new tags raise once again the question of balancing art and commercialism that set the comments on fire last month with Gaia's artwork. Most of the tags photographed by Joshua Mellin for this set were posted at Lake Shore Drive and Grand Avenue, within proximity of Art Chicago. That's an area that likely gets the graffiti buster treatment whenever a tag goes up, due to how close it is to Navy Pier and other tourist destinations. But the timing of their installation and location unmistakably coincide with Fairey's Art Chicago appearance.