Facing the Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent
In 2019, the 10 year anniversary of Wynwood Walls will coincide with Shepard Fairey’s final stop for his show, Facing the Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent. The show is in celebration of his 30 years as an artist and represents a dialogue between Fairey’s 19-year-old self with his current 49-year-old-self who has journeyed through trials both metaphorically and literally. Its plays along with the theme of the anniversary with its nostalgic theme that highlights 30 pieces of his work, some ranging as far back as three decades.
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.
Frank Shepard Fairey, born February 15, 1970, is an American contemporary street artist, graphic designer, activist, illustrator and founder of OBEY Clothing who emerged from the skateboarding scene. He first became known for his "Andre the Giant Has a Posse" sticker campaign while attending the Rhode Island School of Design, which appropriated images from the comedic supermarket tabloid Weekly World News. He became widely known during the 2008 U.S. presidential election for his Barack Obama "Hope" poster. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston calls him one of today's best known and most influential street artists. His work is included in the collections at The Smithsonian, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.