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Facing the Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent represents a dialogue between the 19-year-old punk beginnings of Shepard Fairey and his current life as a 49-year-old artist, activist, punk, father, and husband who’s journeyed through trials both metaphorically and literally. Shepard Fairey has always been an artist who speaks his mind through his art, and his latest exhibition is a reflection that highlights both the continuity and the evolution of his art and his concepts over the last 30 years. The title Facing the Giant references the giant of Fairey’s prolifically disseminated early stickers of Andre the Giant, but more enduringly, the giant issues and forces he confronts through his art.
Fairey is constantly moving forward, and through his progression has gained wisdom without losing the defiant idealism that fueled his beginnings and continues to define his career. The artworks represented in Facing the Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent were selected because of their importance aesthetically and conceptually. These works address recurring topics in the artist’s career such as phenomenology, self-empowerment, rebellion, abuse of power, environmental destruction, racism, gender inequality, xenophobia, campaign finance reform, the military industrial complex, propaganda, war and peace, and economic imperialism. Fairey is perpetually inspired to make art, creating compelling imagery to ignite conversations and provide unique avenues to address challenging topics.
Facing the Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent demonstrates that it is possible to marry art and social commentary in ways that are playful, agitational, humorous, seductive, graphically potent, and sometimes even beautiful.
Shepard Fairey is known for his extensive and consistent production of fine art screenprints that began his career and he has continued to create provocative and accessible works with his 18 x 24-inch screen prints. For this survey of the last three decades, the selected 30 artworks will be shown as 30 x 41-inch hand painted multiples (HPMs) which are prints on unique collaged backgrounds with additional stenciling and embellishments. Facing the Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent will be the first time that many of these images are available in mediums other than the original 18 x 24-inch screen print editions that have long been unavailable on the primary market.
BEYOND THE STREETS New York, 2019. Photo by Dan Bradica.