Shepard Fairey’s mixed-media stenciled collage image of President Barack Obama has found a permanent home at the National Portrait Gallery.
A symbol of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, a red-white-and-blue portrait of the candidate with the word “HOPE” emblazoned below, has found a home at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.
But despite the seeming success of the image, both the work and the artist Shepard Fairey have found themselves surrounded by conflict.
In February, Fairey preemptively filed suit against the Associated Press, the source of the original photograph that was altered to create the portrait. The lawsuit was prompted by AP’s request for credit and compensation for the work. Fairey’s lawyers contend the work is protected by fair use. And those lawyers have been busy. At virtually the same time as he filed suit, Fairey was arrested by a Boston police officer on an outstanding graffiti charge from 2000. The artist was on his way to the opening of an exhibition of his work at the Institute for Contemporary Art (the show continues through Aug. 16).