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End is near for Shepard Fairey’s Melrose Avenue mural

If you’ve driven along Melrose Avenue in the last couple of weeks, you probably have noticed a new outdoor mural on the north side of the street near Ogden Avenue, across from Fairfax High School.

The recognizable mash-up of pop-psychedelic images -- including an elephant, a lotus flower and “Obey” logos -- point to only one source: Shepard Fairey, the popular and controversial L.A. street artist.

Fairey and his team of artists created the 56-by-18-foot painting on the exterior of De La Barracuda, a clothing, hair and art gallery space frequented by über-hip trendsetters.

A spokesman for Fairey said the artist has a close working relationship with Barracuda. He said the outdoor wall space usually is used for advertising but there was a gap in bookings, so the owner allowed Fairey to temporarily take over the space for his artwork.

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Anyone wanting to check out the mural in person is advised to do so soon. The spokesman said that the artwork is scheduled to stay up only “for another couple of weeks” before it is covered up by an advertisement.

Fairey has recently been busy with his upcoming solo show “May Day” at Deitch Projects in New York scheduled to open May 1. The Fairey show is the last exhibition at the space before Jeffrey Deitch becomes the new director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in L.A.

The artist is battling the Associated Press in a fair-use legal case concerning his “Hope” poster of Barack Obama. In October, Fairey admitted that he knowingly submitted false images and deleted others to conceal that the AP had correctly identified the photo used as a reference for the poster.

On Monday, a judge in New York asked that Fairey disclose the identities of parties who deleted or destroyed records related to the case.

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-- David Ng


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