Early Friday morning I left my house with a sticker with the one intention of placing a sticker on the poster of street artist Shepard Fairey‘s “The Duality of Humanity” which has been stuck up all around this country, from Denver to San Francisco and now, not far from my house in Washington, DC.
It was literally a tongue in cheek action because the sticker was temporary and message was humorous: I <3 Vandalism. I had obtained the sticker from a random street art book a friend gave me for my birthday. The reason behind doing this was two-fold. First is that some forms of street art is vandalism. The other, more important issue, is that Fairey’s street art is merely stylish propaganda, which deserves to be defaced over time, like all street art.
It’s really the Barack Obama poster that gets to me. In my opinion, there is nothing revolutionary about Barack Obama’s character. Nothing. He stands for the status quo. It might be progress that he might becomes president. But when placed in the context of revolutionary ideals and presidential aspirations, this street art becomes explicit Democratic party propaganda and thereby subverts his entire message.
Moreover, its gimmicky— have an acclaimed street artist come to town, put up some large prints that depict ironic pseudo-revolutionary memes on derelict property, have a gallery opening to sell it to rich folk who keep the duality alive, and put up Barack Obama posters on the side. I get it and it sells well. Yet political art should have a larger message that is defiant of the status quo. To embrace the partisan, lesser of the two evilism, might be a Duality of Humanity, but its politically feeble-minded and artistically weak, but it sure is nice propaganda.