Obey Obama The Giant
April 20, 2008, 02:50 PM
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A reader writes about Obama's popular Soviet constructivist-style propaganda poster:

 

Here is the official poster sold at the Obama campaign website:

It's sold out of its limited edition of 5,000 at $70 apiece.

The artist who created this image is Shepard Fairey.

Apparently, that's his real name.

As Time Magazine puts it, SF is "The man who launched the sticker revolution."

Previously people who did "graffiti art," like Warhol find Jean-Michel Basquiat, spray painted buildings. Even if they did the same image over and over again, each spray painting was unique. Fairey hit on the idea of pre-printing his vandalism as stickers and then covering an urban area with the endless repetition of the same image.

The first idea Fairey had was a sticker of the late professional wrestler Andre the Giant:

AndreTheGiantSticker.jpg

In Fairey's mind, Andre the Giant gets mixed up with Big Brother, since Andrea, is, well, big. This produces Fairey's next sticker campaign: "Obey Giant:"

LARGE SIZED STICKER

Hitting upon Soviet aesthetics, Fairey became a big hit with those who wax nostalgic for the return of the USSR. He founded BLK/MRKT Visual Communications to sell his rebel hipness to Hawaiian Punch. Here's one of Fairey's various Lenin/Stalin posters:

The art side is run out of http://obeygiant.com ...

Here are some examples of that work:

http://obeygiant.com/archives?nggpage=7

http://mkgallery.com/artists/fairey/fairey_2006_3.html

Of course God reminds us not to value this life to too highly by allowing it to endlessly descend to lower and lower levels of self parody. Thus it came to pass, my comrade, that when Penguin Books was getting around to reissue the Orwell "backlist," they picked Fairey to do the covers for "1984" and "Animal Farm" ... i.e., a guy who thinks Stalin was cool will now insert himself into the history of these texts:

http://thepenguinblog.typepad.com/the_penguin_blog/2008/04/it-was-a-bright.html

Animalfarm_afrmt_2

Here is the NYT article that prompted this all:

What does it all mean? Obviously, the Obey Obama the Giant poster isn't "ironic." Humorless credulity, not irony, is the hallmark of Obama fans.

Instead, the Obey Obama poster just shows once again what Michael Blowhard and Shouting Thomas pointed out recently: Most artists aren't very smart. They like shiny stuff:

"There was a stretch in the '90s when edgy theater artists were showcasing garish colors, laughtracks, snappy pacing, game-show formats and such. The critics were treating themselves to a field day explaining that what these deep, complex, and (as always) "critical" artists were up to was subverting our media-drenched assumptions with their media-based strategies. Vanessa, who actually hung out with a number of these actors and directors, laughed and said to me, "What nonsense. These kids are creating theater pieces that resemble live versions of television because TV is what they really like. They like TV, and they want the theater they create to be like TV.""
So, all these Obama fans are buying posters done in the style of Soviet propaganda posters because ... because they think they look cool. Which explains a lot about their politics, too.