Function Magazine

Art, Fashion and Entertainment

With the popularity of the artwork known as “Obama Hope”, there was no doubt that the art world was unanimously behind a politician who displayed confidence, wisdom and hope and that would bring about change in the coming days as the President of the United States.

The creator of this portrait that has become so widely-accepted and popular in both its original form as well as the online world was Shepard Fairey, who on finding such success, became a regular visitor on every conceivable talk show. In short, he became a celebrity of sorts.

But this fairytale came to an abrupt end when it was discovered the Shepard had committed graffiti violations, and was arrested by the police at the launch of his retrospective at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.

However, all this was completely overshadowed by the following controversy in which the Associated Press (AP) claimed that they had found the original photograph that one of their freelance photographers, Mannie Garcia, had taken and this led to demands of credit and financial compensation.

Of course, a few months later, Fairey, his partners and AP decided to finally settle matters while deciding to collaborate financially on merchandise that was based on the image of “hope”. At another level altogether, the National Portrait Gallery found itself in a spot of bother over a David Wojnarowicz video which was duly removed later, due to the fact that it found itself in a vulnerable position at Congressional budget meetings.

And while some directors considered it inappropriate to accept any federal funding, the Republican Study Committee announced its plan to reduce the budgets of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, and by this time, it was pretty clear that the art world was alienated yet again from the world of politics.

Comments are closed.