Merging graphic design, stenciling, typography, and screen-printing, Shepard Fairey's solo show May Day kicked off May 1st at Deitch Projects. It celebrates revolutionaries that Fairey most admires in textural portraiture, from Bob Dylan to Basquiat, Joe Strummer to Jasper Johns, Woody Guthrie to Grandmaster Flash.
The 40-year-old street artist, who made his debut with Obey Giant stickers in 1989, held court at the center of the Soho gallery wearing a Motörhead tee with faded jeans and black Adidas Sambas, while the natty crowd--Adrien Brody, Salman Rushdie, Tyson Beckford, Brian Grazer, Fab 5 Freddy--took in the art.
The show also tackles issues of energy, free speech, the two-party system, and the role of the worker in modern America. Deitch timed the event--its final show--for International Workers' Day, and by sundown, the opening had transformed into a come-one, come-all street party, fitting for the populist themes.
The buys: To coincide with the exhibit, Fairey launched a pop-up shop of his Obey Clothing line. We suggest the Sea Wolves chambray button-down, Wasted Youth pleather jacket, Juvee slim-fit shorts, and Old Work striped tank.
The field trips: Fairey put up several public artworks around town, including a piece at the intersection of Bowery and Houston (the wall Keith Haring made a landmark in 1982), a wrap on the façade of the Ace Hotel and an interior mural within Williamsburg Music Hall.
More info: Obey Clothing pop-up shop, through May 16, 151 Orchard St., NYC, no phone number, weekdays 1-7 p.m. and weekends 12-7 p.m.; obeyclothing.com. May Day, through May 29 at Deitch Projects, 18 Wooster St., NYC, (212) 343-7300; deitchprojects.com
Shepard Fairey, May Day (Flag 1), Stencil impressions and mixed media collage on canvas, 32 x 50 inches
Left: Shepard Fairey, Basquiat, Stencil impressions and mixed media collage on canvas, 44 x 60 inches
Right: Shepard Fairey, Muhammad, Stencil impressions and mixed media collage on canvas, 44 x 60 inches
Art images are courtesy of the artist and Deitch Projects.