In wake of legal controversy, Shepard Fairey keeps a busy schedule

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Adhering to the famous Winston Churchill adage that ‘if you’re going through hell, keep going,’ artist Shepard Fairey has been maintaining a busy and high-profile schedule in the weeks after his admission that he engaged in a cover-up in his ongoing fair-use legal battle with the Associated Press.

On Thursday, Fairey was in New York to launch his new partnership with fashion giant Levi’s. The collaboration features a new line of denim-wear that bears the artwork from Fairey’s own fashion line, Obey Clothing. As was reported in the All the Rage blog, the new clothing is currently available at the Levi’s flagship store on Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade, while select pieces are for sale on both Levi’s and the Obey websites.

Fairey created a live art installation at the Levi’s store in New York’s Time Square to inaugurate the partnership.

The Associated Press recently added Obey Clothing, which was launched in 2001, as a defendant in its counterclaim against Fairey.


Two weeks ago, the artist was at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh for the opening of the retrospective ‘Supply and Demand,’ which features more than 80 works by Fairey from the last 20 years. The show opened just as news of the artist’s legal wrongdoings became public.

The retrospective, which runs through Jan. 31 in Pittsburgh, originated at the Institute of Contemporary Art / Boston, where it opened earlier this year.

On Oct. 16, Fairey publicly admitted that he submitted false images and deleted others in an attempt to conceal the fact that the Associated Press had correctly identified the photo that Fairey had used as a reference for his posters of then-Sen. Barack Obama. The image in question was taken by Associated Press photographer Mannie Garcia.

This weekend, the Times’ editorial board wrote about the Fairey-Associated Press case, saying that the dispute ‘offers a chance to make’ the line between acceptable use and copyright infringement ‘a bit clearer.’

‘We don’t think the court should condone his deception -- some kind of sanction would be appropriate,’ said the editorial board.

‘Yet that should not tip the balance the court must strike between creators and those who follow them.’

-- David Ng

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