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Shepard Fairey to Curate Lollapalooza Art Show

By Jessica Mlinaric in Arts & Entertainment on May 3, 2014 8:00PM

Credit: Liz Bustamante

Lollapalooza announced another headliner this week, but this artist is a far cry from Eminem and Kings of Leon. According to the Chicago Tribune, renowned street artist Shepard Fairey will be curating an art show to coincide with Lollapalooza called “Art Alliance: The Provocateurs.”

Fairey’s show, in partnership with Lollapalooza promoter C3 Presents, will feature work by a range of street artists, illustrators, and poster artists with a common DIY and disruptive ethos. Best known for his iconic Obama “Hope” campaign poster and his Andre the Giant "Obey" images, Fairey’s star power has assembled an impressive lineup of talent for the massive show.

Featured artists will converge on both art and music. There’s Devo frontman and visual artist Mark Mothersbaugh. New York graffiti artists Futura and Eric Haze designed album art for the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy. Stanley Donwood is a frequent collaborator of Radiohead, while Winton Smith is known for his punk collages and designing the Dead Kennedys logo.

The show will also include work by Fairey as well as Invader, Gary Panter, Ryan McGinness, and RETNA.

“The Provocateurs” will include Chicago’s Carlos Rolon, a Humboldt Park-based installation artist known as Dzine. Given the strength of Chicago’s street art and illustrative community, which is still mourning the recent loss of Brooks Golden, we can only hope that more local artists are included in the event as more exhibitors are announced.

This isn’t Fairey’s first Chicago feature. In 2011, he showed “Revolutions” at Art Chicago, leaving behind a 130 foot “Obey” mural at the Lake Shore Drive viaduct near Navy Pier.

So why the music festival tie-in?

Fairey told the Tribune:

"Because a great thing about music is how democratic it can be, and my approach to art was always modeled on that basic accessibility, around more do-it-yourself kinds of music like punk and hip-hop. Art is increasingly about straddling worlds. That makes it a natural fit for music, which is doing a lot of those same things. Barriers between so-called high and low art are not so much there now. The time seems right for music audiences — full of creative-minded people — to be in tune with what is happening not only in the fine-art world but with posters, street art, works that are extensions of fashion."

Running July 30 through August 4, “Art Alliance: The Provocateurs” will not take place inside Grant Park but inside the 25,000-square-foot space of Block 37 (108 N. State St.). Navigating the immense festival grounds and stage schedules is a task in itself, and we question whether the Skrillix set will make time for a gallery trek. Yet operating as a separate ticketed event, “The Provocateurs” offers an inviting alternative from sunburn and bass drops.