Thursday, December 15, 2011

Events and non-events


By now everyone knows that TIME’s Person of the Year for 2011 is “The Protester” and that Shepard Fairey created the cover. Those who’ve followed this blog for a while know that I worked as a consultant for TIME on the covers for over 20 years, and introduced Fairey to TIME in 2007, when he created an image of Putin that ran on the inside (see post here).  While the Person of the Year, along with the magazine itself, no longer has much cachet, I’m still glad TIME made a good call (over, say, Kate Middleton for getting married or Steve Jobs for dying) as it represents formal recognition that this is a massive, worldwide movement—unlike the New York Times, which is still waiting for Occupy to go away so no one will notice that they haven’t been covering it.

I admire Shepard Fairey and feel his success is deserved; I have absolutely no patience with the kneejerk reaction that commercial success = sellout (Coldplay remains a favorite, and I’m glad Radiohead left their major label so they, too, don’t have to be a guilty pleasure). However, if I still worked for TIME, I wouldn’t have recommended Fairey for this cover simply because the protests represent the new and unknown, where his now-ubiquitous style is associated with the known, the past, and is simply too sleek and realized (again, nothing wrong with that per se) to represent the nascent, unformed and gritty surge that is this movement. If they’d asked, I would have looked for the street artist who is now what Fairey was in 2007. It's no one I could name off the top of my head. Because a TIME cover has very specific requirements, that would require the research that was once my job. I might, however, start here:


Although it’s had the Internet on fire for weeks and was a headline today in Britain’s Guardian, another event the New York Times (along with the rest of the mainstream media) hasn’t covered is the hasty passing—ironically on 220th anniversary of the Bill of Rights—of the latest iteration of the National Defense Authorization Act, which many feel compromises our most basic American rights to due process. But you can learn about it on the Huffington Post, and if you need a laugh to mitigate the fright, on The Daily Show.

Meanwhile, in the art world, I received a press release today announcing that Gagosian will be showing ALL of Damien Hirst’s dot paintings (they call them “spot” paintings) in ALL of the eleven Gagosian Galleries throughout the world—Paris, Athens, Geneva, Hong Kong, London, Rome and New York. Now there’s an event to stay home for. My opinion as a critic is, if you’ve seen one dot painting, you’ve seen them all. You can quote me.



Banksy's take on Hirst's dot paintings.

5 comments:

See Me Tell Me said...

I agree. Great to see Shepard on the cover but Elbow Toe, Gaia, Clown Soldier, Swoon, or Faile would have been great. And they would have launched a street artist into FAME.

namastenancy said...

I love Banksy's comment on Hirst's poka dot "paintings." They remind me of a skirt I wore as a teenager and it was retro (not in a stylish sense) even then. As for the cover - I would have loved to have seen some of the great "amateur" photos that I'd seen on FB or various blogs used as the cover. Usually taken by those who are part of the movement, they convey passion and commitment.

joan said...

Spot on Carol!
I'm sending you an image by a street artist I found in Soho (on the street of course) last year.
xjoan

Anonymous said...

The problem with Fairey is not his images... it is his attitude. If you know him well enough to name his fave alki drink (Yes, I know it) you know that he does not believe in half of what he projects. It is all an 'image' to play on the youth market. I worked alongside his crew for three years and have known him for a decade. Tell all book coming soon. Fair warning.

deb said...

The banksy versions are so much MORE than the originals, not a show I would go out for. Hope you had a marvellous holiday! I would have oved a cover by Swoon too.