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Shepard Fairey, E Pluribus Venom

Jonathan LeVine Gallery
529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor, 212-243-3822
Chelsea
June 23 - July 21, 2007
Reception: Saturday, June 23, 5 - 9 PM
Web Site


Jonathan LeVine Gallery is proud to announce E Pluribus Venom, a solo exhibit of new works by Shepard Fairey. This show will be the artist’s first solo show at Jonathan LeVine Gallery and will feature a second, off-site exhibition space for the artist to exhibit large-scale installations and murals on wood and canvas. Shepard Fairey’s provocative collection includes politically charged paintings, screen prints, stencils, album covers and mixed media pieces rich with metaphor, humor and seductive decorative elements.

For E Pluribus Venom, which translates “out of many, poison,” is derived from E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one) an early motto adopted by the U.S. government, which appears on U.S. coins and dollar bills. For Shepard Fairey, many becoming one, or a loss of power and the influence of the individual in favor of homogeny is a symptom of a society in decline. E Pluribus Venom entails a two-fold metaphor: referring to the poison in the American system and the individuals who are motivated by venom and have anger towards this system.

The exhibition is comprised of artworks designed to scrutinize the dichotomy of symbols and methods associated with ideologies of the American Dream. Fairey’s artwork comments on underpinnings of the capitalist machine, critiquing those who support blind nationalism and war. Fairey addresses monolithic institutional authority, the role of counter culture, and independent individuals who question the cultural paradigm. Utilizing currency motifs and a Norman Rockwell aesthetic, Fairey employs the graphic language of the subjects they critique. Blending Art Nouveau, hippie, and revolutionary propaganda styles, he celebrates subjects advocating peace. His works blur the perceived barriers between propaganda and escapist decoration, political responsibility and humor with the intent of stimulating both viscerally and intellectually.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Shepard Fairey was born in Charleston, SC, in 1970 and currently lives and works in Los Angeles. In 1989, as a student at the Rhode Island School of Design, Shepard Fairey launched his ambitious street campaign of stickers featuring Andre the Giant. Fairey became an internationally known artist using the slogan “The Medium is the Message” in his “Obey Giant” street campaign. Since then his propaganda has become something of an anomaly and design empire, encompassing stickers, clothing, skateboards, posters, stencil based graffiti and film. Founder of Studio Number One, a design firm in Los Angeles, Fairey has worked with numerous high-level corporate accounts and recently co-founded Swindle magazine. In 2005 Fairey was a resident artist at Honolulu’s The Contemporary Museum, as well as designing the poster art for the feature film Walk the Line. In 2006, Fairey contributed eight vinyl etchings to a limited-edition series of 12” singles by alternative rock icons Mission or Burma, and has also produced work for Interpol and the Black Eyed Peas. Fairey’s work has been exhibited in numerous museums and collections including The New Museum of Design, New York, NY; San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA; Baltic Center for Contemporary Art, New Castle, UK; Museum of Modern Art; Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK; and The Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Recent gallery exhibitions include Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, White Walls Gallery, San Francisco, CA, Tokyo Wonder Site, Tokyo, Japan; Galerie du Jour Agn├Ęs b and Galerie Magda Danysz, Paris, FR; and Maxalot Gallery, Barcelona, Spain. In 2005, Time Magazine featured Shepard Fairey in a photo essay, Art of The Street. His book, Supply and Demand: The Art of Shepard Fairey was released in July of 2006. Numerous articles have been written about Shepard Fairey and have appeared in well-know publications, including The New York Times Magazine, GQ magazine, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Art Papers Wired, Print Magazine, Juxtapoz, Creative Review, WAD Magazine, Philadelphia City Paper, Tokion Magazine, and Details Magazine.

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