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Urban Roots: 4 works by Shepard Fairey!

For all lovers and collectors of Street Art, here are four works by one of the artists of Wunderkammern: Shepard Fairey. Counted among the most important American street artists in the world and made internationally famous in 2008 thanks to his iconic portrait of Barack Obama, Shepard Fairey will be one of the protagonists of the Urban Roots group show that will open on Thursday 16 March at our venue in Rome. On display will also be these four limited editions works; they are still unseen by the Roman public, but we reveal them to you in advance! 😉

AR-15 Lily (2022)

The hand-finished silkscreen on paper AR-15 Lily shows a white lily emerging from an AR-15 rifle, hence the title of the work. Artist Shepard Fairey was inspired by Vietnam War protesters who used to insert flowers into the barrels of National Guard rifles in protest. This work shows how much Obey cares about political issues and social emergencies. In this case, the fight against war takes the form of two visibly opposed subjects: on the one hand the rifle, on the other the lily, which since ancient times has been a symbol of purity, majesty and innocence. 

Shepard Fairey, AR-15 Lily, 2022, Silkscreen and Mixed Media Collage on paper, HPM, Edition 6/10, 76 x 104 cm, Credits Shepard Fairey

Ideal Power (2018)

In Ideal Power street artist Shepard Fairey deals with gender inequality, a recurring theme within his artistic production. In this work in particular, the artist has focused on the wage disparity between men and women in the workplace. Terms often linked to women’s emancipation, such as equality, revolución and power, appear in this silkscreen on paper measuring 121 x 85 cm. In 2019 in Detroit, Obey used the face of the work’s protagonist as the main subject for a temporary installation on a panel intended for advertising. The aim of Shepard Fairey, artist who has been dealing with urban space and communities since the beginning, was to give all inhabitants the opportunity to interface with art in their daily lives and to reflect on this important issue.

Shepard Fairey, Ideal Power, 2019, installation, Detroit, Credits Shepard Fairey

Beyond the Streets Billboard (2018) 

Starting from its title, the work Beyond the Streets Billboard highlights the critical reflections that Shepard Fairey (Obey) often raises against capitalism. In this HPM (Hand Painted Multiple) silkscreen made in 2018, there are numerous references to the world of advertising which, through the application of clever strategies, aims to influence our thinking and our purchases. In fact, with this work, Shepard Fairey wishes to recall how he himself has often used white billboards as large canvases on which to paste his works and give voice to his message. As in reality, some recurring elements in Beyond the Streets Billboard are the horizontal format, the slogans “Sale 100%off!” and “Your ad here!” and the reproduction of the overlapping of different billboards that is generated with the passing of time and undoubtedly reminds us of the billboards that dot our cities. Shepard Fairey’s unique and unmistakable style emerges in this work both in the references to Futurism and the Russian Avant-Garde, and in the prevailing colours of his colour palette: red, beige and black.

Shepard Fairey, Beyond the streets Billboard, 2018, Silkscreen and Mixed Collage on paper, HPM, Edition 5/12, 122 x 67,5 cm, Credits Shepard Fairey

Exclamation (2019)

In Exclamation Shepard Fairey put at the centre of the composition the stylised face of the famous wrestler Andrè the Giant, the iconic symbol by which the artist Obey is recognised worldwide. The story of Obey Giant started in 1989 with a campaign of stickers depicting the French wrestler with which the street artist wallpapered the walls of Providence.  In this hand-finished silkscreen, as in his other works, Shepard Fairey proposes a reflection on the relationship between visibility and the functioning of the advertising logics linked to capitalism that every day attract our attention by bombarding us with images and multimedia content. In the work, the face of André the Giant is surrounded by an exclamation mark that Obey has inserted in a provocative manner, solely to convey to the viewer the feeling that Exclamation deals with an urgent message.

Shepard Fairey, Exclamation, 2019, Silkscreen and Mixed Media Collage on Paper, HPM, Edition 15/19, 76 x 104 cm, Credits Shepard Fairey

Did you already know these works? If you would like to know more about Shepard Fairey’s works, come and visit us at the opening of the Urban Roots exhibition next Thursday at our venue in Via Giulia in Rome or contact us at wunderkammern@wunderkammern.net! 😊