Shepard Fairey, Inc.: Artist • Professional • Vandal by G. James (Jim) Daichendt is the first book about the street artists/conglomerate creator that is not an authorized product of Fairey’s studio. That alone makes it a standout in the art book world, and in the world of Shepard Fairey At one point in the smart (at times uber-academic, at times deeply personal) text Daichendt discusses the pros and cons of having to deal with the Obey monolith–the gatekeepers, the lawyers, the chatelaines who are all part of a cephalopodian corporation with tentacles in art, publishing, clothing, and more.
Daichendt explores Fairey’s art, his influence and influences, his history, the controversies surrounding Fairey and his work, and the concepts of (voluntary) comodification and monetization of art. You may love Fairey’s art, you may loathe it (or loathe who you think he is, or what he represents), but if you care even a whit about art or current culture, you should read this book.
There’s a a lot going on in Shepard Fairey, Inc.: A lot of gorgeous photos of Fairey’s art. A lot of analysis of what Fairey’s art means, what Fairey’s vision has wrought in both art and commerce (and the commerce of art). And there are a lot of references to art theory (including Brian Dougherty aka Patrick Ireland and “the white cube”), economics, and pop culture. Reading Shepard Fairey, Inc. is like taking an honors course from a very cool college professor, which makes sense since Daichendt is a professor of art history at Azusa Pacific University, and champion of urban art whose last book Stay Up! Los Angeles Street Art is a rich, full look at L.A.’s evolving murals.
With a forward by Robbie Conal–whose wheat-pasted caricatures of politicians, pundits, religious figures and global capitalists has earned him the sobriquet of “America’s most famous street artist”– Shepard Fairey, Inc.: Artist • Professional • Vandal is possibly the most important art book to come out in recent times. And while you might buy it for the pictures, you should read it for an education.
Jim Daichendt and Robbie Conal will be presenting and signing Shepard Fairey, Inc.: Artist • Professional • Vandal Friday, April 18 at Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, at 7pm.