Shepard Fairey Makes Occupy Wall Street Poster, Misses the Point

11/22/2011 1:02 PM |

Detail of Occupy Hope. (Courtesy Shepard Fairey, Obey.)
  • Detail of “Occupy Hope.” (Courtesy Shepard Fairey, Obey.)

Ever one to re-appropriate and re-contextualize images (and take flack for it), Shepard Fairey has used his own work this time as the basis for an Occupy Wall Street poster. The new image plays off of his 2008 three-tone “Barack Obama Hope” piece which now hangs alongside photo-realist, oil-clad canvases of presidents past in the National Portrait Gallery. “Occupy Hope” (in full below) depicts a hooded demonstrator with a similar expression as Obama in the AP photograph Fairey originally appropriated, now sporting a Guy Fawkes mask with the caption: “Mr. President, we HOPE you’re on our side.”

To date, President Obama has yet to meet with and publicly address the grievances of demonstrators in the streets. Sixty-seven days and hope is all it seems they can do at this point. However, Bucky Turco at Animal New York brings up a very good point: “Shepard Fairey doesn’t get Occupy Wall Street,” a “party-less, leaderless” movement that has refused to align with any official or settle on a definitive message no matter how much people (including Hendrik Hertzberg in a well-reasoned New Yorker editorial) would like it to.

Fairey’s poster seems to suggest that the movement, a post-ideological post-protest, is still relying on support from a system that demonstrators have been struggling so hard to work outside of.

Occupy Hope (Courtesy Shepard Fairey, Obey.)
  • “Occupy Hope” (Courtesy Shepard Fairey, Obey.)