In a day and age where each individual seems to be constantly bombarded by attention grabbing images trying to sell us one product or another, people have begun to notice with particular attention those few images that are not related to consumerism or some political campaign. Despite our familiarity with images such as the artist Shepard Fairey’s “Obama Hope” posters, there are other works that comment on commercialism that deserve our attention. Through his “Obey Giant” campaign, Fairey has been able to thoroughly address both the positive and negative aspects of our capitalist economy as well as the inherent problems in a consumer-based society where supply and demand is king. Fairey’s art has grown and changed over the past twenty years to more aggressively address the issues of corporate imagery in American society. This evolution of sorts has grown out of an understanding of Heidegger’s phenomenology, McLuhan’s “the medium is the message,” and a variety of contemporary influences such as the works of Barbara Kruger, and a popular movie titled They Live. As the campaign progressed, Fairey moved away from the political message associated purely with location and began to overtly discuss the nature of capitalism through the subject matter of the images themselves. This shift culminates in his creation of a pair of rarely-discussed images showing the good and bad sides of capitalism and modeled after the one-dollar bill and a stock certificate.
Nedah Zamani, ’10 La Canada, CA
Majors: Politics, Art and Art History
Sponsor: Christina Penn-Goetsch