Shepard Fairey Opens Largest Retrospective Ever, EYES OPEN, MINDS OPEN @ Lotte Museum of Art, Seoul
“I have always known that art can be powerful because I have seen how it affects me personally and many other people," Shepard Fairey said on the eve of his largest retrospective ever, EYES OPEN, MINDS OPEN, at the Lotte Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea. If any artist can make this declaration, it's Shepard. He's one of the rare artist, who, through two iconic images and countless street pieces and exhibitions around the world, has permeated pop-culture, art culture and activist culture all at the same time. OBEY is a worldwide phenomenon, and his art seems to be getting tighter and more layered as the years go on.
His story is also the story of how street art and graffiti became a dominant force in art's ascension in the publicc onsciousness over the last 30 years. With over 470 pieces in the show at the Lotte, it's also a major survey of how iconic and recognizable his art has become. It's also an insight into the evolution of his message: you can see characteristics of his activist roots from the early years, and his current work is more refined and visually able to communicate messages while still maintaining a street meets fine art aesthetic.
When it comes to a legendary figure, sometimes you need to see a retrospective in order to see the work with fresh eyes and fresh perspective. Shepard is there, where this show reminds us of the breadth of his work but also how important his message can be. —Evan Pricco