Shepard Fairey is one of the country’s most famous and influential street artists. He rose to national prominence in 2008 when he designed the famous Hope poster for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Most of Fairey’s prints were produced in collaboration with the late Richard Duardo at Modern Multiples in Los Angeles, a print shop that has been a favorite of San Antonio collectors Harriett and Ricardo Romo. With Duardo’s encouragement, the Romos collected Fairey’s art for a number of years. While Fairey is not a Latino artist, his work often does have a social or political message like the Chicano art the Romos are known for collecting.
The remarkable thing about Fairey’s work is that he has created his own unique visual and graphic language, a style that is immediately recognizable and legible. He does this with a limited color palette of black, white, tan, and red as well as bold, repeating patterns and motifs. One of his most famous motifs is the highly stylized face of the professional wrestler André the Giant emblazoned with the word “OBEY.” Based on a street installation the artist did while a student at the Rhode Island School of Design called André the Giant has a Posse, the image has become Fairey’s trademark and it makes an appearance in a couple of the Romo prints.
The eight large-scale works in the exhibition are all gifts of the Romos to the museum and this is the first time they have been on public view.
This exhibition is organized by the McNay Art Museum.
The Elizabeth Huth Coates Exhibition Endowment and the Arthur and Jane Stieren Fund for Exhibitions are generously funding this exhibition.