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Shepard Fairey beat up in Copenhagen
August 15, 2011 3:09 PM   Subscribe

Shepard Fairey was beat up by punks in Copenhagen — apparently for painting on the site of the former Ungdomshuet. (previously)
posted by Tom-B (154 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
To be a street artist you don’t need permission, just courage and motivation.

Um, no. Not on my street.
posted by chavenet at 3:12 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, folks around LA were wonderin about his black eye... Apparently, just about every piece of art hung in Copenhagen was defaced by morning with stuff like "fuck peace" painted over Shepards stuff.
posted by brando_calrissian at 3:14 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Having sex with peace is easier said than done.
posted by everichon at 3:15 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Shepard Fairey's posse failed him.
posted by ColdChef at 3:19 PM on August 15, 2011 [17 favorites]


"No peace, go home yankee hipster”
posted by kuatto at 3:21 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Fuck peace? Really? REALLY? YOU ARE DENMARK! DENMARK. I mean, really?
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:23 PM on August 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


I rather like Obama Illuminati. Is Fairey one of the puppet masters behind Obama, or is Obama the master, and Fairey a mere puppet? Intrigue!
posted by filthy light thief at 3:25 PM on August 15, 2011


That's some white nonsense. All of it. Every single aspect of this story.
posted by wreckingball at 3:26 PM on August 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


Shepard Fairey's posse failed him.

In fairness, Andre the Giant has been dead for 18 years.

Holy shit, I should not have looked that number up.
posted by Copronymus at 3:26 PM on August 15, 2011 [17 favorites]


It sounds like he stepped into some raw feelings on this one, which is always a risk for an artist coming in from the outside. I saw some shows at ungdomshuset a long time ago; it was a great place but not a hard place to get your ass kicked at.
posted by Forktine at 3:27 PM on August 15, 2011


Punk culture has always been kind of sketchy and violent. It's such an old story that it almost makes me feel nostalgic.

Pretty frustrating and sad, but Fairey sounds like he's been pretty cool about it. What can you do, really?
posted by Stagger Lee at 3:31 PM on August 15, 2011


He just has a black eye. That's not beat up.
posted by xmutex at 3:32 PM on August 15, 2011


Fuck peace? Really? REALLY? YOU ARE DENMARK! DENMARK. I mean, really?

If nothing else, this story is good for demonstrating that we are not purely a happy rainbow and gummibears land that we sometimes are made out to be here on Metafilter. I think it would be good if a more realistic appraisal of the place can develop among some posters here. I usually read posts about Denmark and Scandinavia because hey, local area interest, but I think there is too often a somewhat idealized, almost fetishistic bent to many posters views about these countries, countries that really are just populated with the same people as anywhere else and are not too different.
posted by Catfry at 3:36 PM on August 15, 2011 [18 favorites]


Catfry: "not purely a happy rainbow and gummibears land"

Don't take away our hopeful illusions. They're all we've got!
posted by adamrice at 3:41 PM on August 15, 2011 [10 favorites]


I quite like the official Youth House response, pitting visceral street-battling riot cops against the pretty ethereal global peace idealism. Too bad it was never allowed to be just that juxtaposition.
posted by anotherpanacea at 3:43 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hipsters everywhere must be torn!
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 3:44 PM on August 15, 2011


LEGOS MAKE ME RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE
posted by Brocktoon at 3:46 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


He just has a black eye. That's not beat up.

Um yeah, please don't perpetuate this nonsense, on behalf of wives and children everywhere.
posted by Brocktoon at 3:47 PM on August 15, 2011 [19 favorites]


It's kind of a neat example of cultural conflict:

Fairey probably thinks he's a real cool progressive kind of guy. And in the U.S. being paid to make street art and the occasional political poster for the center right party (as opposed to the fair right party) probably qualifies. To the bitter old Danish punks, Fairey is a tool of a government that has conducted covert assassinations in dozens of countries and has ongoing operations in hundreds (just see last week's FPP).

"no peace yankee hipster" indeed.
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:47 PM on August 15, 2011 [30 favorites]


not purely a happy rainbow and gummibears land

This gummibears land you speak of, where do I find it?
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:48 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


“No peace, go home yankee hipster”.

It's disconcerting to discover you've become part of the establishment.
posted by bonehead at 3:52 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not that I'm defending the punch in the eye but I take all statements from Shepard Fairey with a grain of salt after his deceptive and hypocritically litigious behavior during the whole Hope poster debacle. "[G]o home yankee hipster" seems about right.

Just as a not-terribly-pertinent-here aside that will matter to almost noone, I've been to several Fairey exhibitions and his works are going to be an ongoing nightmare for museum conservationists.
posted by Morrigan at 3:54 PM on August 15, 2011


bonehead: "It's disconcerting to discover you've become part of the establishment."

That part is actually hilarious.
posted by falameufilho at 3:54 PM on August 15, 2011


GODDAMNIT IT'S LEGO... NO S!!!
posted by symbioid at 4:00 PM on August 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


How the hell else you gunna get some street cred?
posted by sammyo at 4:02 PM on August 15, 2011


Someone should have known this would happen.

After the last riots, I have no sympathy for the Ungdomshus-crowd, so this is not at all a defense. But it is a waste of time to enter any sort of conversation with them, and they will routinely react with violence to anything they percieve as an offence. Someone Danish should have said this was a bad idea, even if it is in many ways a good idea.

Oh, and Mr. Fairey: I have known punks. Punks were my friends. You are not a punk.

This is a messed up comment. I have messed up feelings about this.
posted by mumimor at 4:07 PM on August 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


GODDAMNIT IT'S LEGO... NO S!!!

One lego? What can you build with that?
posted by hydrophonic at 4:09 PM on August 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


A lazy installation piece?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:13 PM on August 15, 2011


I have mixed feelings about Fairey and his work — I think he oversells the conceptual elements to cover up for a lack of vocabulary, and I think that a lot of the conceptual underpinnings that he's built his career out of are now pretty well undermined.

But they often look cool, and I'm willing to forgive a fair amount of bullshit in the service of cool looks.

That said, given the amount of kind of clueless self-righteous posturing that he has when he writes (and who knows — maybe it's just because his chosen medium isn't words), it seems kind of both inevitable and the best outcome that he got his ass (mildly) kicked by some random Danish crustpunks.

(By the way, we got one of his old OBEY co-founders, Mike Mongo, to do a stencil for the next MeFi Mag on games. It looks pretty sweet.)
posted by klangklangston at 4:14 PM on August 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


GODDAMNIT IT'S LEGO... NO S!!!

I think there has been enough S kicking for one day, don't you?
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:19 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have to admit that Rise Above bit did seem like some pretty seriously forced name dropping.

"See? See guys? I'm punk. I am. I totally am. I mentioned a Black Flag Song! See?"

(Now if he'd dropped in with a Keith Morris era Black Flag song, it'd be different.)
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 4:22 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't normally condone violence.. Hell, I've been injured worse than that in a mosh pit, voluntarily. I'm a buddhist and sworn to nonviolence, but I considered breaking my vow when I read his statement:

It was a great almost 70 foot high wall, and with my connection to punk culture and my history with art at the location, it seemed like a great wall.

Fuck you Shepard Fairey, you were 7 years old when punk culture was at its peak. Your connection to "punk culture" is the same as your connection to all culture: you exploit the works of other people for your own profit. Anyone who is still printing posters of Sid Vicious in 2001 has lost all connection with punk. I would have thrown paint bombs at your precious little wall. I have thrown paint bombs at similar bullshit. I threw paint on a 40 foot mural created for a Beastie Boys video, that must have been back around '82.. when YOU were 12 years old. Fucking poser.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:22 PM on August 15, 2011 [14 favorites]


While Fairey seems to want to believe the issues are nuanced and that he has somehow been misrepresented, I think "Go home Yankee hipster" is really pretty straightforward.
posted by KS at 4:26 PM on August 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


I dunno guys, it sounds to me like punk is still alive and well. I mean, look at all this posturing and posing and delightfully fashionable iconoclasm and self-righteous violence.
posted by Hoopo at 4:30 PM on August 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


that must have been back around '82.. when YOU were 12 years old. Fucking poser.

Yeah, smackdown! Take that! Serves you right for being born too late, and for not inventing a time machine to take you back to the heyday of punk, 1982.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:32 PM on August 15, 2011 [15 favorites]


Hey punks, when you destroy other people's stuff it's a cool hip act of anti-authoritarian defiance and I'm totally with you guys but when you destroy my stuff it's an outrageous act of vandalism. OK?
posted by joannemullen at 4:32 PM on August 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


Oh, and Mr. Fairey: I have known punks. Punks were my friends. You are not a punk.

Brings to mind a summer bbq a few decades back when punk was still a reasonably current thing. I ran into a guy I knew, a punk, who was sporting two black eyes, various other wounds. "What happened?" I said. "Got shitkicked by some of the local natives," he said. "Shitty," I said. "Whatever," he said, "White man's karma. We've all got it coming. At least one good shitkicking we don't deserve.
posted by philip-random at 4:33 PM on August 15, 2011 [13 favorites]


self-righteous violence! it's the best kind. creme de la creme. and delightfully fashionable too. hunk's not dead man.
posted by molecicco at 4:35 PM on August 15, 2011


And um, just to be clear. When we're talking about punks on MetaFilter, are we talking about Quincy Punks, or maybe something a little more ... historically accurate?
posted by philip-random at 4:36 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Exit Through the Gift Shop, which featured Fairey himself, practically prophesied this incident. Dude should have read the writing on the wall seen this coming.
posted by Rykey at 4:42 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, are you calling Quincy a liar?
posted by Hoopo at 4:47 PM on August 15, 2011


Quincy might lie, but Anita Gillette? Step outside and say that.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:51 PM on August 15, 2011


Um yeah, please don't perpetuate this nonsense, on behalf of wives and children everywhere.
posted by Brocktoon at 3:47 PM on August 15 [5 favorites +] [!]


Why is someone always just looking for an opportunity to throw somebody down on the ground for an innocuous statement?

Oh that's right...because its appreciated here.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:56 PM on August 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


Copenhagen is a cool town.

It's always a shame when even cool places turn out to have anti-American bigots who hate peace lurking within them. What the hell kind of sentence is that even?
posted by Winnemac at 4:57 PM on August 15, 2011


"Hey punks, when you destroy other people's stuff it's a cool hip act of anti-authoritarian defiance and I'm totally with you guys but when you destroy my stuff it's an outrageous act of vandalism. OK?"

You want me to hold that straw man while you whale on him, Joanne?
posted by klangklangston at 4:57 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fuck you Shepard Fairey, you were 7 years old when punk culture was at its peak.

Dude, chill yo. He paints mostly urban buildings. I think your lawn is safe.
posted by Lutoslawski at 4:57 PM on August 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


This gummibears land you speak of, where do I find it?

"Ensign Gluck, The "gummi bear" or Gummibär orginates from the city of Bonn in Germany circa 1922 during the Weimar republic. The first confection was called the "Dancing bear"."
posted by clavdivs at 5:00 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Copenhagen is a cool town.

Copenhagen's alright, if you like saxophones.

(and philip-random: I know that was a cheap shot at punk, but not everyone involved in "punk culture" was a member of Crass, either. FWIW punk is my prefered music these days even if I was more into Sesame Street at the time)
posted by Hoopo at 5:01 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Straw poll!"
*hunts em down some banjo pickings
posted by clavdivs at 5:02 PM on August 15, 2011


"Copenhagen's alright, if you like saxophones."

Ah, but I do love those old Frygt records.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 5:04 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dammit, now I'm fantasizing about gummy saxophones and gummy banjos.
posted by mannequito at 5:07 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I met a sweet little fox at the China Box in old Copenhagen.
posted by klangklangston at 5:07 PM on August 15, 2011


Okay, as an anarchist I officially do not endorse beating people up in cold blood.

However, this whole business of "who hates peace?" is a bit silly. Seriously, "peace" is what rich first world centrist people point to when they don't want to be assholes but don't want to give up any meaningful power either. That's the reason that "no one" hates peace - Robert Redford, Bill Clinton, various rich white socialites - everyone can have a peace sign necklace, because they know that appealing to "peace" as an abstract, anodyne concept means absolutely nothing. It means less than nothing to say to poor people worldwide that they need "peace" when what they need - whether they get it by organizing, voting, violence or the usual mixture of the three - is money, security, food, equality, justice.

Also, no one talks about themself as a "citizen of the world" except rich white people.
posted by Frowner at 5:15 PM on August 15, 2011 [20 favorites]


we are not purely a happy rainbow and gummibears land

damnit, now where am I supposed to threaten to move to if Bachman wins in 2012?!
posted by photoslob at 5:30 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Was it a 20 minute fight over a pair of designer sunglasses? Or does he only rip off his artwork from They Live?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:35 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Something something disobey.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:36 PM on August 15, 2011


Who'll be the first to create a print of the "Black eye photo"?
posted by stFire at 5:37 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay, as an anarchist I officially do not endorse beating people up in cold blood.

pretty sure these punks were hot blooded, that being totally punk rock and all

is that ok?
posted by LogicalDash at 5:55 PM on August 15, 2011


Or I can whale on my straw man with you tucked under one arm, klangklangston, whatever you like.
posted by joannemullen at 5:56 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's always something when American progressives that believe they're leftists, meet leftists.
posted by mobunited at 6:04 PM on August 15, 2011 [21 favorites]


Dude, chill yo. He paints mostly urban buildings. I think your lawn is safe.

Fairey warning: if you ever come to my hood and make so much as a single mark on a public building, I will hunt you down and cover you with paint from top to bottom.

And that goes double for you, banksy.

Okay, as an anarchist I officially do not endorse beating people up in cold blood.

And as a pacifist, I officially do not endorse punching Fairey in the eye. But I can still enjoy it.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:05 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Morrigan, I'm fairly sure Art is the "ongoing nightmare for museum conservationists".

I thought the new picture with input from RaxArt was beautiful. And since peace is a cultural construct, its cool that the concept art of peace was fought over and eventually culturally constructed. And then, like real peace, totally fucked up forever by nihilistic assholes who are still angry about the past.
posted by Chipmazing at 6:08 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


And that goes double for you, banksy

nah, I like his stuff. He can paint the shit out of my neighborhood any time.
posted by philip-random at 6:10 PM on August 15, 2011


charlie don't surf: I'm a buddhist and sworn to nonviolence...I w[ill] throw paint bombs at your precious little wall. I have thrown paint bombs at similar bullshit. I threw paint on a 40 foot mural created for a Beastie Boys video!

Quite sincerely, you're my favorite Buddhist.
posted by Chipmazing at 6:11 PM on August 15, 2011


threw paint on a 40 foot mural created for a Beastie Boys video, that must have been back around '82..

Probly not '82. In '82 the Beasties were a punk band. License to Ill came out in 1986, and I would suspect it wasn't until then they were at we-can-totally-budget-a-40-foot-mural-for-a-video phase of their career.
posted by Hoopo at 6:24 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


When we're talking about punks on MetaFilter, are we talking about Quincy Punks, or maybe something a little more ... historically accurate?

Or even CHiPs punks, perhaps? Seriously, back in the day calling someone a "CHiPs Punk" was like, the worst insult ever.
posted by echolalia67 at 6:26 PM on August 15, 2011


Oh god yeah, I would totally whale on those chipmunks. What with singing covers of the Sex Pistols and the Dickies in their shrill, tinny little voices. NOBODY WANTS TO HEAR IT, ALVIN.
posted by darkstar at 6:33 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Quite sincerely, you're my favorite Buddhist.

I wasn't always a buddhist. But I consider defacing bad public art to be a nonviolent act.

Probly not '82. In '82 the Beasties were a punk band. License to Ill came out in 1986, and I would suspect it wasn't until then they were at we-can-totally-budget-a-40-foot-mural-for-a-video phase of their career.

Well it could have been a few years later, my recollection could be wrong. And I remember the shoot, they said it was the Beasties but who knows? Maybe someone will recognize the mural if I describe it. It was 3 stories high, on the side of a building right in the middle of Little Tokyo, next to an empty parking lot. It was just a block from my loft in downtown LA. I had to look at that damn ugly thing every time I walked out of my home. It was a fake sign for a bowling alley, with a girl in a short skirt sitting in the lane with two balls and a bowling pin pointed up her crotch. They were supposed to paint it over after filming but they left it in place. Everyone hated it, especially the local shopkeepers. I mixed up some special brew of lampblack and linseed oil, put it in jars, and tossed them at the mural every night until I hit it enough times to obliterate it sufficiently. Eventually someone painted over it with that ugly "Chaparral Brown" paint that the City of LA gave out for free, to cover graffiti.

Or even CHiPs punks , perhaps? Seriously, back in the day calling someone a "CHiPs Punk" was like, the worst insult ever.

Fucking posers. Everyone knows the only real punks on prime time TV were CPO Sharkey Punks.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:34 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


In Flint, we import only the best muralists.


love to paint this
posted by clavdivs at 6:34 PM on August 15, 2011


As a fan of the Dickies who had never seen that clip, charlie, I salute you.
posted by darkstar at 6:37 PM on August 15, 2011


A black eye eh? Could've been avoided with a couple warm cheap beers. Punkers have changed that much in the last 30 years.
posted by snsranch at 6:41 PM on August 15, 2011


Who'll be the first to create a print of the "Black eye photo"?

gratuitous starter image
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 6:42 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


threw paint on a 40 foot mural created for a Beastie Boys video, that must have been back around '82..

why the fuck did you do that? mindless destruction? punk, but seems pretty pointless. what was your issue with it?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:48 PM on August 15, 2011


This one time, I painted an X on the local fire station door. Then we drove away real fast. This was in 1996, when you were only 12. We also stole soda out of the fridge.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:00 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


what was your issue with it?

You obviously didn't read upthread. A monumental, crude, ugly, bad, fake retro mural with a sophomoric sex joke (two balls and a phallic bowling pin haw haw). They only got a film permit with the understanding that the mural would be removed after filming. I just forced their hand.

You know, Barbara Kruger got into huge trouble for a mural only a block from there, the local Japanese community was so offended by a huge mural in the shape of an American Flag with the Pledge of Allegiance on it, that they made her change the artwork. And that's not the last time there was a huge controversy, as you can tell from the article.

I think the common theme throughout all these mural problems is that the muralists (I will not call Fairey or Blu an artist) did not consider their environment, and didn't even consider that they could be causing offense, even enraging the people that have to live with it in their face every day.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:01 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why is someone always just looking for an opportunity to throw somebody down on the ground for an innocuous statement?

I think you just instigated a circle jerk. Cuz my statement was pretty innocuous too.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:05 PM on August 15, 2011


I think the common theme throughout all these mural problems is that the muralists (I will not call Fairey or Blu an artist) did not consider their environment, and didn't even consider that they could be causing offense, even enraging the people that have to live with it in their face every day.

Fair enough. But faux-retro sexism or not it still sounds better than a blank wall.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:06 PM on August 15, 2011


faux-retro sexism or not it still sounds better than a blank wall.

Actually I'll take the blank wall, thanks anyway.
posted by en forme de poire at 7:07 PM on August 15, 2011 [10 favorites]


I view myself as an American by birth, but as a world citizen by choice. Traveling the globe has given me greater perspective on how relatively fortunate we are in America, as imperfect as it is. Traveling has also given me perspective on how the U.S. is perceived globally(mostly as redneck imperialists). Just as I’m opposed to U.S. xenophobia and insensitivity to the rest of the world, I’m opposed to xenophobia toward Americans from the rest of the world. Saying all Americans are imperialists is like saying all Arabs are terrorists.

Honestly, if I was only a *slightly* different man I would kick the face that said this for bus fare.
posted by mobunited at 7:10 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]



It's always something when American progressives that believe they're leftists, meet leftists.


It's always preferable to be beaten by left wing thugs than neo nazi thugs.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:14 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, no one talks about themself as a "citizen of the world" except rich white people.

Hey, Tom Paine wasn't that rich.
posted by Hoopo at 7:14 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think the common theme throughout all these mural problems is that the muralists (I will not call Fairey or Blu an artist) did not consider their environment, and didn't even consider that they could be causing offense, even enraging the people that have to live with it in their face every day.

Agreed. Public art indeed. Which public? It is rarely art that is produced by or for the community living and working there.

It's always preferable to be beaten by left wing thugs than neo nazi thugs.

You're on to something--too few thugs among American Leftists, perhaps.
posted by vitabellosi at 7:17 PM on August 15, 2011


Frowner: "Also, no one talks about themself as a "citizen of the world" except rich white people."

Wake up in the morning
Stretch your arms towards the sun
Say something in Chinese
And go to Paris…
Every minute, somewhere in the world there is morning
Somewhere, people stretch their arms towards the sun
They speak new languages, fly from Cairo to Warsaw
They smile and drink coffee together.


Anastasia Baburova, not rich and only "white" to the extent you consider Russians "white".
posted by falameufilho at 7:27 PM on August 15, 2011


It's always preferable to be beaten by left wing thugs than neo nazi thugs.

You're on to something--too few thugs among American Leftists, perhaps.


It's why you're still at war and you don't have any fucking social safety net.
posted by mobunited at 7:29 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, no one talks about themself as a "citizen of the world" except rich white people."

Smug people of all colors and income levels call themselves 'citizens of the world'!
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:30 PM on August 15, 2011


Also, no one talks about themself as a "citizen of the world" except rich white people.

I know, right? Socrates is such a prick.
posted by Panjandrum at 7:30 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


2N2222: "It's always preferable to be beaten by left wing thugs than neo nazi thugs."

what is this i don't even
posted by falameufilho at 7:32 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Perhaps some of you are missing the bit where he says it's unfair to paint him as an imperialist BTW I'M PAINTING ON A SITE OF INCREDIBLE SIGNIFICANCE WITHOUT THINKING BUT I MADE OBAMA POSTERS OK? I mean, when we People in Other Countries think about cultural imperialism, this is fucking IT, boys and girls. It's the very goddamn essence of it.
posted by mobunited at 7:35 PM on August 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


Fuck you Shepard Fairey, you were 7 years old when punk culture was at its peak.

Anyone got any Thorazine?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:36 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


should have tried it in muirhouse.
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:40 PM on August 15, 2011


WHAT!
posted by clavdivs at 7:40 PM on August 15, 2011


This post needs more context.
posted by Pseudonumb at 7:50 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


LiB: "…it still sounds better than a blank wall."

Define blank. Just because something wasn't deliberately put on it for the purposes of "art" doesn't mean it's "blank". There's art - or at least beauty - in the style of bricklaying used (I see at least 3 of the older examples from that list every day), tuckpointing, the way a wall weathers, etc. - and that's without even considering the way nature (which I know you hate) can slowly take over.

What's blank and ugly to you can be a thing of beauty to someone else - and that's before it gets into any sort of argument over whether murals or street art make it "better". Hell, there's whole architectural and artistic movements based on the opinion that blank concrete walls are, in and of themselves, "art".

However, watching the kind of narcissistic fuckwittery involved in rocking up to somewhere you've never been, walking into the middle of somebody else's cultural milieu, plastering your own stuff all over it, and wondering why somebody punched you in the face? Pure fucking solid-gold schadenfreude …
posted by Pinback at 7:55 PM on August 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


Agreed. Public art indeed. Which public? It is rarely art that is produced by or for the community living and working there.

Yeah, that link to the Barbara Kruger controversy didn't really get to the core of it. The Pledge of Allegiance caused a huge rift in the Japanese-American community that had been basically suppressed since the end of WWII. Internees were forced to attend a flag raising ceremony every morning and recite the pledge. This was probably enough to enrage the Little Tokyo community. But the real problem was a rift between the Issei and the Nissei that happened in the internment camps. The first generation immigrants didn't like reciting the pledge, they thought it was an insult. The second generation, the Japanese-Americans who were born in America, were anxious to prove their loyalty, they liked reciting the pledge, took it seriously, and many of them even wanted to prove their loyalty by signing up for the Army, resulting in the famous 442nd "Go For Broke" Infantry Regiment. Now add into this mix, the local Japanese-American community was trying to raise funds for a museum to (in part) commemorate the internees right next door to that site. And if that wasn't bad enough, these same community activists were lobbying for reparations for internment, which the US Government granted just as this controversy with the mural emerged. The reparations also aggravated the Issei/Nissei rift, since a lot of the original internee Issei were very elderly and had little use for the money, so they gave their Nissei and Sansei (3rd gen) descendants the $20k in reparations which many of them spent on new $20k Japanese cars. This really pissed off a lot of the Issei activists, who thought this was a disrespectful use of the money they had fought for, for decades. You can see this mural activated a LOT of issues for the community.

I personally opposed the alteration of the mural. I thought that the political issues it brought out were the best feature of the artwork, and it should be left unaltered. If anything, it was a better monument to the internees than that stupid, ugly Go For Broke Monument that sits in the middle of a parking lot in Little Tokyo. But Kruger caved in and was more than happy to have her mural painted over and redone without the pledge.

Anwyay, LA has a strong recent history with murals, dating back to a huge mural project all across the city for the 84 Olympics. There are strong legal protections for murals in certain circumstances (not usually those done by graffiti idiots like Fairey or Blu). And the city also has a strong public art funding campaign, which gives priority to local artists, who are presumably better equipped to know the local community and their sensitivities.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:02 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


only "white" to the extent you consider Russians "white".

Somebody remind me: where exactly is the Caucasus again?
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:03 PM on August 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


the muralists (I will not call Fairey or Blu an artist)

Why wouldn't you? Fairey's more of a graphic designer, fair enough, but Blu? Not an artist? Huh?

Is it because they're muralists? Do you view Diego Rivera with the same disdain?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:04 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fairey's more of a graphic designer, fair enough, but Blu? Not an artist? Huh?

Oh hell, don't get me started on this topic of "who is an artist?" or I'll drag you back through the SCOTUS case Brancusi vs. United States. I have had this argument so many, many times. Mostly I've had this argument with vandals spray painting the back of the building I worked in, as I painted over their murals with Chaparral Brown paint supplied by the City of LA.

Rivera was an artist. Fairey, Blu, and Banksy are vandals. Rivera went to art school, his career was propelled by patrons who funded his travels to Europe where he worked with great artists like Modigliani. He was commissioned to create murals in fresco, a very difficult technique that creates durable works (e.g. Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel). His studies, his influences, his techniques, place him in a direct dialog with other artists and the entire history of art. That is what makes you an artist.

The other guys are vandals with no education in the arts (OK well Fairey has a degree from RISD.. in illustration, not fine art), no influences beyond other vandals, and no connection to other artists. They put up works on other peoples' property without permission, they believe they have the right to inflict their murals on people without their consent. They believe that what they want to see is what everyone should see. They think that whatever they create is art because they made it. They are self-promoters, rather than the promoters of ideas. Their works are a dialog with their own egos.

Now don't even think that some sort of acceptance within a small segment of the art world, is what makes you an artist instead of a vandal. Any idiot that repaints the yellow line down the middle of a road and diverts it into a stone wall is a vandal.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:37 PM on August 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


First of all, since I worked with him pretty much non-stop on Andre the Giant has a posse—infinitely better known as OBEY—from '92-'05 (albeit often in different parts of the world and with different approaches to OBEY Giant (especially after he and Amanda got together/clicked/found one another), I occasionally but not usually chirp up on these conversations. If I have something that fleshes out the understanding of it all, I do.

I don't know if I do or don't here but here goes anyhow.

The difference between what Frank Shepard Fairey is doing now and what he was doing in 1989 when he and Ryan Lesser came up with the OG (Original Giant) image is absolutely is that now he doesn't have to steal supplies. He's rich now. He can afford them.

But other than that there is something everyone who is even remotely interested in OBEY/Giant and Shepard should know. It is this:

Shepard has no idea why he does it.

He wakes up and does Giant. He goes to bed and does Giant. (OBEY whatever same dif.) And he thinks about doing Giant all day long.

Shepard frankly serves doing Giant.

Working with Shepard means non-stop on. Either you are hardcore and about it, or else you can go do you own thing. I have plenty of experience with graf artists (Doze, Twist, Rocksteady, Phil Frost, Gerardo Yepiz, Geezus, me, etc.) and no one has come close to the unrelenting dedication and intensity of Shepard. It is always all the time everywhere forever with him.

And it is fun. Climbing buildings and billboards and bridges. Inventing new ways to out do one another. Getting in and getting out. Dodging the police security employees good samaritans. All in the name of art.

And everyone who has ever worked with Shepard only wants to be as hardcore and full-on as Shepard. He's messianic in this way. I can't tell you the number of kids who gained cred just by working with him for a few years. Because when you work with Giant and do OBEY with Shepard, everyone knows you are really doing work.

I got to Charleston, SC just after Shepard left for RISD but his friends were in Charleston. Particularly Alfred Hawkins and skate legend Blais Blouin. All they would do growing up is listen to shit like Bad Brains, Black Flag, Misfits, Public Enemy and all the punk rock crap that is still so popular. Tapes. Tape decks. And skate sessions. I heard, I saw photos, even video. He was always solidly hardcore. (Though I went to his house one time and was totally blown away how normal it was. I even talked to his mom as I recall. She didn't really have an opinion about Giant. Of course it was so long ago I could be just really screwing that up.) Anyhow, Charleston and Providence were the first two cities properly covered with stickers.

Then, Alfred and Blais went up to RI and did Alternative Graphics (AG, Andre the Giant, get it?) with Shepard and I went to Berkeley.

I get credit for doing Berkeley. Nobody taught me that and I owned it. On my own. Shepard never knew what one person could do on there own until he came to stay with me in Berkeley. Step off the BART at the Downtown Berkeley Station and it was like a Christmas version of GIANT. Stickers. Posters. Stencils. IT WAS EVERYWHERE. Wherever you turned. This was 1995. In one year, I went through over 100,000 stickers in the Bay Area. (I blew away Oakland and San Francisco too. But Shepard hates admitting that.)

In 94-95 we made the shift from Andre the Giant to OBEY because of a letter from Titan Sports who owned WWF and the rights to the name Andre the Giant. And all of us worked non-stop. Night and day. Me on the west cost, they on the East. They had a skate ramp built into the warehouse I saw in pictures. It was screen-print stickers and t-shirts and posters then skate then go put the stuff out. Then skate and do more art. My schedule was similar in NorCal without the skating.

Around that time, Shepard and Blais and Alfred moved to San Diego. And on the West Coast it just got bigger and bigger. Blais was a certified skate god. Alfred got seriously into graphic design and DJ'ing and doing his own thing. It is little recognized but they both seriously influenced OBEY. They grew up with Shepard and then moved to RI to work on Giant. Then all together moved to Southern California to work on OBEY.

All of us kept on doing our own thing. But now there was a company. And there were all these other people coming and going. Everyone on the jock, not realizing that Shepard knew (knows) the score more than anyone. It wasn't about jocking Shepard. It was are you willing to do the work or aren't you? Are you down to work (create) or not? I mean he eats and conversates and says funny intelligent and critical-minded things but everyday all day it is GIANT GIANT GIANT.

By '98. I was the only one who kept up with him. He got the publicity but we both worked the streets. Blais actually died. (RIP, he called me "weird, a Jewish hip-hop gay guy", we never really clicked. Now he was what people call punk rock. And an effing master.) But the mystery of why Shepard was doing it was just too great. (The secret is that Giant is nothing.)

Amanda came into the picture in '98. Shepard and I parted ways over some drama. I flew up to Seattle. It was a riot. And when Shepard followed me up there, I went behind him and just buffed the city of Giant. He was hardcore. But I was pissed. Also, intentional or unintentional, Shepard has this way of moving people away from him when he's done with them.

Amanda took OBEY commercial. It was already commercial, that's an important aspect of the thing. Like part of the joke. But Amanda took it seriously. She has an amazing mind for it, and her skills at management made it happen. She was a natural. And she believed in OBEY at the right time.

It just kept on growing. It just has. But the seriously crazy thing is that it doesn't mean anything and it has always had this impact on people. ("The Phenomenon") Which is funny. And that funny thing is what keeps it interesting for Shepard.

I tell you he might actually stop if everyone starting doing Giant and realized it doesn't mean anything at all but a fly in the ointment. It's a burr. That's it. Something that doesn't mean anything that perpetually gets under people's skin for whatever reason.

Because of that, because of how it makes people act, and react and argue and disagree, now 20 years later I still think Giant is interesting.

I mean, he did the Obama poster for crying out loud? Do you have any idea how funny he finds that? He lives for that shit! They don't get it, he's thinking while crying and laughing hysterically to himself...and to a very, very small tight elite group of others.

So this turned into a lot more autobiographical than I intended but what I find funny still is what Shepard doesn't realize and more than likely will never get. And that is this: The joke is on him. It would never cross his mind that Giant OBEY is the master and he is the servant. It just wouldn't compute.

But that's my point and what I wanted to get across. As interesting and cool a person as he is, and as talented an artist and graphic designer, and great husband and father as he most assuredly is, whatever makes him get up everyday and everynight and Do Giant is something that he will never ever get or understand. He's doesn't question it.

The absence of introspection is clearly problematic. It opens itself for manipulation and abuse. At the end of the day, when it comes to Shepard Fairey and OBEY the only way to really "get Giant" is to understand what some people (including the punks in Copenhagen) very painly seem to believe—that like it or not the architect may be the tool.
posted by Mike Mongo at 8:49 PM on August 15, 2011 [26 favorites]


The other guys are vandals with no education in the arts (OK well Fairey has a degree from RISD.. in illustration, not fine art), no influences beyond other vandals, and no connection to other artists. They put up works on other peoples' property without permission, they believe they have the right to inflict their murals on people without their consent. They believe that what they want to see is what everyone should see. They think that whatever they create is art because they made it. They are self-promoters, rather than the promoters of ideas. Their works are a dialog with their own egos.

Wow. Okay.

Have you ever seen anything by Blu? He's not going around throwing tags on people's houses. Have you seen any art made in the last 10 years? Blu's is very much a part of it.

they believe they have the right to inflict their murals on people without their consent

Publicly funded murals do that, too, in more ways than one. Personally, I prefer the stuff that doesn't divert funds from public coffers, but, hey, I'm weird like that.

As for vandalism: Didn't you just admit to vandalism upthread? You really believe a mural with a bunch of random black shit thrown on it is less of an eyesore than a mural--any mural--without?

Talk about ego.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:53 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


His studies, his influences, his techniques, place him in a direct dialog with other artists and the entire history of art. That is what makes you an artist.

Also this is kinda BS.
posted by Hoopo at 8:55 PM on August 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


(BTW, it was 24 comments since I started writing the above post so I have to give credit for Charlie Can't Surf's prescient reference to Barbara Kruger. She rarely gets real shout outs in reference to the OBEY stuff and she was such a huge influence on Shepard's work. He has himself given her credit publicly. Well worth noting, especially considering how artists who are women get overlooked throughout the history of pop art. Barbara Kruger matters!)
posted by Mike Mongo at 9:01 PM on August 15, 2011


As for vandalism: Didn't you just admit to vandalism upthread? You really believe a mural with a bunch of random black shit thrown on it is less of an eyesore than a mural--any mural--without?

Indeed I did. And I note, for the record, that the statute of limitations has expired. But I considered it anti-vandalism vandalism, destroying a work that was not supposed to be there, forcing it to be overpainted like it was contractually obligated.

..Barbara Kruger. She rarely gets real shout outs in reference to the OBEY stuff and she was such a huge influence on Shepard's work.

Yeah, everyone uses Futura now. Perhaps if your pal had taken more art history courses, he might know the difference between a pastiche and a reference.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:12 PM on August 15, 2011


charlie don't surf - love yr moniker, damned fine song. And yeah, you seem to be a punk with some level of old school credibility ... but holy shit, you just basically HOWLED that the only real art is Art that The Academy has approved.

The other guys are vandals with no education in the arts (OK well Fairey has a degree from RISD.. in illustration, not fine art), no influences beyond other vandals, and no connection to other artists.

Who's side are you on anyway?

And if this is vandalism, then fuck yeah to vandalism!
posted by philip-random at 9:24 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


holy shit, you just basically HOWLED that the only real art is Art that The Academy has approved.

Hey, don't forget the Supreme Court. They get a say in it as well.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:43 PM on August 15, 2011


deceptive and hypocritically litigious behavior during the whole Hope poster debacle.

What exactly did he do that was deceptive and hypocritical? He drew a painting of Obama, and then sued in order to specify that the image he used was in the public domain, that is, if a photo is taken of someone from a certain angle, the photogrophaher would not own any representation of someone from that same angle.

At leas that's my understanding.
I would have thrown paint bombs at your precious little wall. I have thrown paint bombs at similar bullshit. I threw paint on a 40 foot mural created for a Beastie Boys video, that must have been back around '82.. when YOU were 12 years old. Fucking poser.


Wow, really? that's pretty ironic given the bullshit anti-graffiti stories you told in the thread about taggers getting arrested in singapore.

Since you advocated caining for taggers in that thread, I presume you feel that you should be cained for throwing that paint bomb? And your other comments in this thread about wanting to deface comissioned public artwork. Ridiculous.

*rolls eyes* I'm pretty most of your comments are just made up.
Anastasia Baburova, not rich and only "white" to the extent you consider Russians "white".
Well, they're pretty pale.
posted by delmoi at 10:01 PM on August 15, 2011


The thing I never understood about the Giant/OBEY thing is why people would spend their time and energy plastering someone else's work all over the fucking place. Shepard has no idea why he does it? Why do you do it? I'm not trying to have a go, I genuinely don't get it.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 10:14 PM on August 15, 2011


The thing I never understood about the Giant/OBEY thing is why people would spend their time and energy plastering someone else's work all over the fucking place. Shepard has no idea why he does it? Why do you do it? I'm not trying to have a go, I genuinely don't get it.

Because people think it makes them look cool/hip/whatever? I still see his artwork around inner city Sydney. I guess its like band stickers, only without the band.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:18 PM on August 15, 2011


Same reason people buy iPads. It's a fassion statement. Express your individuality by buying the product. Except in this case instead of paying cash you pay by working to market.
posted by delmoi at 10:26 PM on August 15, 2011


*rolls eyes*

Yeah that's coming across without having to type it, delmoi.
posted by Hoopo at 10:43 PM on August 15, 2011


Haha! Hell yeah! I applaud the beating of the Fairey boy, and am forwarding this thread to my hipster friends who love him.
posted by ReeMonster at 10:50 PM on August 15, 2011


I can't say why Shephard does OBEY, but I can say that it's fun to get into places that you're not supposed to be in, and it's fun to slap stickers, the stickers look cool…
posted by klangklangston at 10:52 PM on August 15, 2011


Only hipsters hate hipsters, and only you can prevent hipsterism.
posted by klangklangston at 10:53 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


From various:

... but holy shit, you just basically HOWLED that the only real art is Art that The Academy has approved.

No I didn't. When an artist enters into a dialog with the arts world, he does that on his own. Education is important, self-education may be adequate, but an imprimatur from an Academy is not required. Haven't you ever heard of the Salon des Refuses?

Wow, really? that's pretty ironic given the bullshit anti-graffiti stories you told in the thread about taggers getting arrested in singapore.

Since you advocated caining for taggers in that thread, I presume you feel that you should be cained for throwing that paint bomb? And your other comments in this thread about wanting to deface comissioned public artwork. Ridiculous.


This was not a public commissioned artwork, it was a temporary background for a commercial music video, and was contractually obligated under terms of their Film License to be removed after filming.

Hey, if I had a 40 foot long paint roller and a hundred gallons of Chaparral Brown paint, I would have painted it over, no matter how long it took. But I was a starving artist with some spare oil paints, so I did what I could to cover it up, and force the City to overpaint it (I presume the film company got the bill). I also noticed other paint splats on the ugly mural that I didn't put there. I wish I knew who did that, I would have bought them a beer.

You failed to mention the challenge I posed to the vandals that I overpainted at my workplace, how I offered to protect their work if they could tell me the name of one artist and how it influenced their work. But people can read it for themselves.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:08 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


The thing I never understood about the Giant/OBEY thing is why people would spend their time and energy plastering someone else's work all over the fucking place. Shepard has no idea why he does it? Why do you do it? I'm not trying to have a go, I genuinely don't get it.

I imagine it's akin to why folks climb mountains. Part of it's the sheer thrill and risk and applied obsession. Part of it's energy that just needs to be burned.
posted by philip-random at 11:11 PM on August 15, 2011


Looking at the mural he painted its so bland and meaningless. No revolution - just college kid Bob Marley/imagine hippie art.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:39 PM on August 15, 2011


On the topic of whether murals are or are not art, there's a one near me on which the artist has spraypainted (in obligatory taggy font) "Anything is art, if the artist defines it as such".

I've long wanted to scrawl my own rejoinder, "Obviously you've never read Roland Barthes on the death of the author" but I guess some people have just never moved on from Duchamp.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:49 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]




Charlie don't surf, these criteria you've set for artists would seem to exclude people who lack funds, education, and permission. I don't think that's really workable. Would it not suffice for it to be art that you don't appreciate rather than mere vandalism? Can't it be both
posted by Hoopo at 12:31 AM on August 16, 2011


Hoopo, even self-taught naifs like Rousseau rubbed elbows with academic artists.

Ubu, don't blame Duchamp. He once said, "The audience can never please the painter, it can only please the painting."
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:37 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Copenhagen has a tradition of murals made by visiting artists, Will Eisner did this one which always brings a smile to my face. (Huge fan)
posted by dabitch at 12:37 AM on August 16, 2011


only "white" to the extent you consider Russians "white"

I see white has become a meaning-free hate-label to apply to "people I don't like".
posted by rodgerd at 12:55 AM on August 16, 2011


I wonder when Banksy will get his.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:11 AM on August 16, 2011


charlie dont surf Any idiot that repaints the yellow line down the middle of a road and diverts it into a stone wall is a vandal.

Banksy is in the UK, and double-yellow lines here do not indicate the centre of the road, but parking restrictions. They are found in the gutters at the side of the road.

So he's not doing anything dangerous.
posted by alasdair at 3:57 AM on August 16, 2011


So he's not doing anything dangerous.

I thought the parking-line flower was really cute.

On the other hand, I never understood OBEY. Those little pictures of someone I had never heard of always seemed to be the most boring and pointless type of street art possible, a step below tagging. Worse, the obscurity and deliberate artlessness of it seemed calculated to turn the whole thing into a huge smug parade that nobody was cool enough to march in unless they subscribed to the correct subversive publications.

What exactly did he do that was deceptive and hypocritical? He drew a painting of Obama, and then sued in order to specify that the image he used was in the public domain, that is, if a photo is taken of someone from a certain angle, the photogrophaher would not own any representation of someone from that same angle.

At leas that's my understanding.


My understanding is that the deception came in when he tried (unsuccessfully) to destroy the evidence indicating that he had made the image by just tracing over someone else's photo.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 4:20 AM on August 16, 2011


You failed to mention the challenge I posed to the vandals that I overpainted at my workplace, how I offered to protect their work if they could tell me the name of one artist and how it influenced their work. But people can read it for themselves.
I linked to it, people can read it if they want. I pointed it out because thought the story was A) Fake, and B) absurd. You write in a style that screams "this is fake", or at least extremely hyperbolic.

Anyway, as far as you being, or wanting to be a vandal you wrote:
Fuck you Shepard Fairey ... I would have thrown paint bombs at your precious little wall.
Since the artwork was put up with permission, that makes you a vandal, or someone who wants to be a vandal.
posted by delmoi at 4:26 AM on August 16, 2011


I can fully understand the opposition to Fairey's work, here. The people who used Ungdomshuset were thrown out, and the building torn down. This is part of a larger cultural war and normalisation project the current government has been running for a while. What Fairey's 'peace' message represents is giving up and lying down, being thrown out, beaten, and then deciding not to carry on the conflict - by giving in, not asserting your right to be who you are, dress how you want, act how you want, etc... What would've been appropriate is what the mural was modified to - a symbol of resistance and defiance.

So either this guy is an utter idiot (less likely) or he flat doesn't understand the cultural context he's plastered his paint all over (more likely). Either way, I have a hard time mustering sympathy over the black eye.
posted by Dysk at 5:04 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Violence is never appropriate as a political statement in a functioning democracy.

Now, about context. Copenhagen has a socialist government. Sometimes the mayor leans right, sometimes left, but always far, far to the left of anything like the nationalist-conservative government we have in Denmark now. (forget about US politics). The mayor who presided over the sale of the house, and the later destruction, was a controversial person. Her political career ended with those riots. But even she had a fair case, since the users ofbUngdomshuset refused to accept necessary building regulations. The current government is far more tolerant of and engaged in counter-cultural activities. As can be seen in some of the above links, not all of the youth of Copenhagen are aware of this.
After Ungdomshuset was torn down, the users were given an other house, one without dangerous irreparable building damages.
In Copenhagen, there are thousands of young people who are out of work and have no access to education, money or power. A lot of them are children of immigrants, but not all. They are, however, not the users of Ungdomshuset. The five hundred people who set our neighbourhood on fire, and still try to control All activities at the site, are the type of people who grow up in the suburbs and provinces wishing they had been young and poor in the seventies, and who come in to dress up and play at being dangerous. The reason I, and a lot of others, are ambivalent about them is, we were young and poor in the seventies.
Ungdomshuset was a great place for music, and a symbol, and it is missed. But the righteous idiots policing the site are as ignorant and selfish as they always were.
In this case, the city should have stayed out of the project, and advised against it.
posted by mumimor at 5:39 AM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


the Fairey boy

WTF? Are you fourteen years old? That kind of shit don't fly here on Metafilter.
posted by hydrophonic at 6:08 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't really understand these people who call themselves punks. Punk started in 76 and ended in 78, although MarkP may well be right in saying it died when The Clash signed with CBS.

Yet, there are those who talk about 80s punk, 90s punk... but it was all over by then and become several different things.

I just don't get this guy and his cultural closeness, it's as anachronistic as if he was a Teddy boy.
posted by quarsan at 7:42 AM on August 16, 2011


You failed to mention the challenge I posed to the vandals that I overpainted at my workplace, how I offered to protect their work if they could tell me the name of one artist and how it influenced their work.

...while excluding graffiti artists as an option. Because dialog history of art something something.
posted by Hoopo at 7:43 AM on August 16, 2011


I'm sure he stole that black eye from an interesting artist and altered the hue with a filter.
posted by rob paxon at 8:26 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


dialog history of art something something.

Along the same lines, the Sex Pistols attained legitimacy as a continuation of the dialogue started by Dada & the Situationists, although it took Greil Marcus to act as their unofficial & belated artist's statement generator, since the band members themselves were too firmly in character to cite their artistic touchpoints.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:31 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jeez Ubu, you really don't think that Malcom Mclaren didn't know that shit, and the Pistols weren't engaging in an active rejection of current musical direction? Or that they weren't social activists, when they did notorious provocations like giving a benefit concert with free food in a slum?

I linked to it, people can read it if they want. I pointed it out because thought the story was A) Fake, and B) absurd. You write in a style that screams "this is fake", or at least extremely hyperbolic.

Hey, I may have been hyperbolic, but obviously you haven't seen a friend bleeding and horribly injured like that. It really did happen.

Since the artwork was put up with permission, that makes you a vandal, or someone who wants to be a vandal.

In this case, the artwork was left up without permission. How many times am I going to have to repeat it? The mural was contractually obligated to be removed after filming, the film license was granted on the requirement that the site be returned to its original condition after filming. They didn't remove the mural.

I give up. You guys can believe whatever you want.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:51 AM on August 16, 2011


I don't really understand these people who call themselves punks. Punk started in 76 and ended in 78, although MarkP may well be right in saying it died when The Clash signed with CBS.

This is really no more a sensible attitude than saying "punk is as alive as it ever was". Your comment seems focused on British punk milestones rather than its origin in NYC. As with many such cultural trends, 'punk' was very much a mainstream, dogmatic youth fad in Britain whereas in America during the same period it was a much looser association musically and culturally. That fad, as a mainstream entity, died fairly quickly -- most would probably say it was a true fad in Britain for about a year. In any other way you would trace the cultural or musical lineage in either country, there's no definite beginning and certainly no definite end. Post-punk and other branching out of the music started in quick order in Britain, while in NYC -- for example -- there was really no separating it in the first place. Then, on the other hand, more aggressively "punk" scenes (read: hardcore punk) also took hold and remained well into the 80s. The entire independent scene in America during the 80's largely held as much association with "punk" in various ways as the bands from the mid-to-late 70's.

You're presupposing some finite concept of "punk" musically or culturally that your subject obviously wouldn't hold and then using it as a counterpoint to whatever concept they would hold. Punk as a highly popular fad -- in Britain particularly -- is identifiable. In other contexts it serves as an easy focal point of commonalities found in the cultural and musical threads that run through it. It's all a rather hopeless concept for anyone to try and be right about, but a rather easy thing to understand people or groups identifying by in some manner.
posted by rob paxon at 9:07 AM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


He once said, "The audience can never please the painter, it can only please the painting."

My current fave way of discussing "Art" is to effectively leave the artist out of it and focus on the thing itself. Does it or does it not transcend its mere existence as a painting, a sketch, a carving, a movie, a made up story? That is, does some "magic" happen, some inexplicable something in the heart/soul of the beholder? Because if it doesn't, if this very special form of communication fails, then whatever it is, it ain't art.

So-called Artists then become like batters in baseball. Do they hit it out of the park every time? Hell no. Even the very best fail to get on base most of the time. But every time they do, they advance the game, which is good. And every now and then, it's some unheralded nobody, some absolute beginner, who by some weird twist of circumstance steps up and turns a game around.

Because it ain't the Artist and his intentions, it's the result. Is he getting points on the board? Which I guess means sacrifice bunts and flyballs count, too. And steals. But what about unearned runs? Hmmm?

baseball metaphor breaks down, coffee gets put on
posted by philip-random at 9:08 AM on August 16, 2011


Punk started in 76 and ended in 78, although MarkP may well be right in saying it died when The Clash signed with CBS.

Yeah, there was a rare and vital thing that happened in Britain in 76-78 that was unique, unrepeatable, impossible to even convey really to those who weren't there (I wasn't there -- I just get this impression from those who were). But what about West Coast Hardcore? The Dead Kennedys didn't even form until 1978. And hate the impurity of the circumstances all you want (I know the band did), but the Clash made their best, most enduring music while signed to CBS. I mean, I love me that first album but any history of anything worth discussing has to include the likes of London Calling and all that crazy dubbed out shit from Sandinista and Black Market Clash.
posted by philip-random at 9:17 AM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm just impressed to read more than 10 paragraphs by an artist and NOT get an assholely vibe. Good job, Fairey!


And wow, love the punk elitism in this thread. Seriously, that's the discussion we are taking out of this?
posted by Theta States at 9:37 AM on August 16, 2011


Isn't Punk Elitism at the core of this event? Some wanna-be punk telling another wanna-be punk he isn't punk enough.

I agree with phillip-random it is a bit over-zealous to define punk as British Punk before 1978. But to me, being a 17- or even 26- year old punk today is a bit like if we all had been Lindy Hoppers (I don't what the correct term is in English) back then. Fun, even cool, but cultish, dressed up in our parents clothes, and not at all radical. (In the Danish context, we'd have been angry defenders of a jazz-club in Tivoli).
Whereas the violent guardians of the Ungdomshus see themselves as the avantgarde of counterculture.
posted by mumimor at 10:08 AM on August 16, 2011


When I stopped identifying as a punk, it became much easier to look at the entire damn picture, and to stop obsessing over a membership requirement based on your choice of patches, jacket style, haircut, nationality and the year you were born.
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:22 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Punk ain't no religious cult
Punk means thinking for yourself
You ain't hardcore cos you spike your hair
When a jock still lives inside your head


Dead Kennedy's - Nazi Punks Fuck Off
posted by philip-random at 11:09 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Isn't Punk Elitism at the core of this event?

I don't think so.

The mural, with the word "Peace" in giant letters, in a place where a bunch of kids were kicked out of their home, which was then razed to the ground, might as well have said "Hooray! Now that those hoodlums are gone, things are looking up!"

It was a Fuck You to a bunch of homeless kids. Punk posturing doesn't really enter into it.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:14 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


It was a Fuck You to a bunch of homeless kids. Punk posturing doesn't really enter into it.

You're right, that was a discussion in-thread in reference to a comment by Fairey in the article about his connection to punk culture. I do think that the fact that the mural was reported to be commissioned by the City would add to the "fuck you" perception, although I'm not sure that Fairey sees that his intended message may not have gone over well no matter who commissioned it.
posted by Hoopo at 12:24 PM on August 16, 2011


I must be an idiot at explaining this: there were never, ever any homeless kids. Not even back in -81. Ungdomshuset was designed as and still is a sort of community center for punks. The users refused to work with the city in order to make this popular concert venue and important landmark safe for revellers and performers. Why? No one knows. Sentimental old punks tried to help, raised tons of money, negotiated for ages. Somehow, the users felt building codes and banal safety rules were too bourgois for punks. Also, an accountable management is a very evil thing. So the local government gave up and sold the building (again, old punks offered to buy and manage the building, but that would have capitulation to capitalist norms). The only bidder was a fringe Christian sect. It was a huge mistake of the government to sell to these freaks, but again - there were no homeless punks and no lack of alternative solutions. And so it went on and on and on..
In the end, when the Christians decided to tear down this important historical building, thousands of people, including myself, supported the users of Ungdomshuset. In spite of all knowledge and experience. Thats because we Danes are a sentimental lot. Then of course, during the riots, this bunch of thugs with suburban beds and mums with hot food alienated almost every last person in Copenhagen. Their only supporters now are other suburban stoners and foreigners who believe their BS.
Still, they got a new building to use as they liked. While spaces for real street kids were
diminished.
Now, an even smaller sub-group have established the violent cult of eternal preservation of the holy site of Ungdomshuset. And naturally, they are more authentic users than the other users who have negotiated with Fairey. Or anyone else who was there before they were born. Actually, the part where Fairey claims "the youth house brainstormed with some of their artists" is hilarious.
That presupposes there is a leadership, and that they have artists. Silly Shepard - don't you know anything about anarchy?

No one here has misunderstood the city's role. The government has supported the project and payed for the materials. Anyone on the lunatic stoner fringe can see that when a local socialist government pays for the materials for a bona fide anti-imperialist artist it is really an US intervention against punk anarchy.

Honestly, there can not be a political dimension to this. When I look through the comments on this, on both Danish and English news sites, there is literally not one of the defenders of this violence who gets that the local government of Copenhagen is not equal to the national government of Denmark. And I promise you: this is taught in schools here. We have science and math as well as civics at all levels of education.

There may some remnants of anger and sarchasm in the above.
posted by mumimor at 12:45 PM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Well, I have nothing against him, but the guy's a corporate entity now; he's selling beanie caps for $46 a pop, and at this point if he's putting up "street art" on the side of a building, it's pretty much the same as a huge (very nicely designed) billboard for Nike or any other brand in my estimation. The main difference is that Nike would have to pay to rent the eyeball space, and the city wouldn't pay for the materials – which is something that does not escape his attention, I'm sure.

I doubt that he was knowingly/consciously attempting to propagandize the Ungdomshuset kids on behalf of "the establishment," but, really, PEACE + 69 + an OBEY logo? That just doesn't seem wise.

It's also sort of amusing that his art has employed this whole IRONIC PROPAGANDA schtick, and he feels quite terribly shocked that anybody might think his work is propaganda. when it's really advertising.
posted by taz at 1:28 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Taz, I agree completely. It's the violence that buggers me.
But as stated above, someone should have advised against this.
posted by mumimor at 1:41 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always hate that moment in documentaries threads about social movements where somebody insists that whatever incredibly exciting and revolutionary phenomenon they were a part of could never happen again, because the world has inevitably changed for the worse, and today’s kids are just too jaded or clueless to do what they did. What they’re really saying is that it will never happen for them again, because they’ve reached the age where they’re too jaded and clueless. When you’re young, whatever you’re doing feels revolutionary because the world is opening up for you in ways that will never be more exciting than they are right now, in this moment, forever and ever.

-Steven Hyden
posted by Chipmazing at 1:50 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Actually, todays kids are awesome. I believe right now is an important historical point of change, and I believe this is more global than anything we have known before.
What I do not believe is that Danish punks beating up Shepard Fairey are in any way associated with this awesomeness.
posted by mumimor at 2:11 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Then of course, during the riots, this bunch of thugs with suburban beds and mums with hot food alienated almost every last person in Copenhagen. Their only supporters now are other suburban stoners and foreigners who believe their BS.

This brings to mind a situation that happened in East Van about twenty years ago, albeit on a much smaller scale. Basically, a big empty house got taken over by a bunch of so-called "anarchists" and thus a squat was established. But they sucked as neighbors. They partied long and loud. The yard was a mess, scarred with sometimes offensive graffiti etc. Small children were frightened. So the neighbors complained and the cops etc moved in to evict, but somebody called the newspapers and voila! Suddenly it was a big deal media event.

SHOWDOWN IN EAST VAN.

I remember when it finally ended, when the so-called "anarchists" were finally "out on the street", a bunch of them showed up at a sort of open mike political fundraiser I was at. And man, if they weren't the fucking stars of the known universe (in their own minds at least). They effectively bullied their way into control of the event, took over the mike and, as I was finally leaving, one of them was singing protest songs (a guy with wild punkrock hair and crazy, shredded duds ... and beautiful leather boots that had to be worth at least five hundred bucks).

The revolution will be annoying.
posted by philip-random at 2:24 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


sarchasm

Best spelling mistake ever. On Metafilter, I often feel as though I've fallen in to a sarchasm.
posted by Hoopo at 3:02 PM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's the uncanny valley of meaning.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:00 PM on August 16, 2011


I had to register just to reply

sar·chasm ('sär-"ka-z&m) : The giant gulf (chasm) between what is said and the person who doesn't get it.

http://sarchasm.net/ aparantly
posted by westondeboer at 6:25 PM on August 16, 2011


I don't get it.
posted by philip-random at 6:32 PM on August 16, 2011


Maybe you need the the Cliff's Notes or abridged version.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:44 PM on August 16, 2011


Welcome to MetaFilter!
posted by stoneweaver at 9:11 AM on August 19, 2011


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