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Inside the box

Shepard Fairey at the ICA and a preview of February's First Friday
By EVAN J. GARZA  |  January 14, 2009

Shepard Fairey, America’s Finest Cop
"Young people, and artists especially, respond to authenticity. And whether he's just very good at seeming authentic or whether he's really authentic, I think he has a lot of us convinced." This was a statement made by SHEPARD FAIREY in a segment for CBS Evening News regarding president-elect Barack Obama, the subject of his über-iconic "Obama Hope" poster — a piece he redesigned for Time magazine's "Person of the Year" cover. Given that the speaker is the world's best-known street artist and the creator of the popular Obey clothing line, could the same statement be made about Fairey himself? You can decide for yourself on February 6 as the ICA tries to bring the street inside the "white cube" for "SUPPLY AND DEMAND," the first museum survey of Fairey's work and a celebration of the 20th anniversary of his "Obey Giant" poster campaign. The show is organized by former ICA assistant curator Emily Moore Brouillet and guest curator Pedro Alonzo.

The openings in the South End, also on February 6, should prove to be the real "First Friday" of the winter gallery season now that the holiday dust has finally settled. "WENDY RICHMOND: PUBLIC PRIVACY," a collection of 16 cellphone videos by the artist at Carroll and Sons Gallery, continues her investigation of the relationship between people and their environment. New York–based artist KENJI FUJITA has a variety of avant-garde sculptural abstractions at Samson Projects. LAUREL SPARKS shows several handsomely crafted and strangely elegant mixed-media paintings from her new "Pleasure Dome" series at Howard Yezerski Gallery. And "JULIE MILLER: RECENT WORK," which opens next Thursday, will bring the artist's special brand of biologically inspired abstract paintings to Steven Zevitas Gallery.

If none of the aforementioned suggestions is your cup of tea, or you just want to kick it old-school on Newbury Street, hit up Alpha Gallery for a handsome new solo show by ELIZABETH LIVINGSTON. Her photo-realistic depictions of female subjects in oil, usually alone and in domestic environments, reveal vulnerability within the human condition and continue her visual journey through isolation in American suburbs. In scenes based on photographs by (and often including) Livingston herself, women are surrounded by shadows and the warm comforts of a seemingly secure setting; this makes for large works that are equally haunting and gorgeous.

"SHEPARD FAIREY: SUPPLY AND DEMAND" at Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Ave, Boston | February 6–August 16 | 617.478.3100 | "WENDY RICHMOND: PUBLIC PRIVACY" at Carroll and Sons Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave, Boston | Through February 14 | 617.482.2477 or | KENJI FUJITA at Samson Projects, 450 Harrison Ave, Boston | February 6–March 21 | 617.257.7717 or | LAUREL SPARKS at Howard Yezerski Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave, Boston | February 6–March 10 | 617.262.0550 or | "JULIE MILLER: RECENT WORK" at Steven Zevitas Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave, Boston | January 22–February 28 | 617.778.5265 x 22 or | ELIZABETH LIVINGSTON at Alpha Gallery, 38 Newbury St, Boston | February 6–March 4 | 617.536.4465 or

Related: Radical chic, Year in Art: Beyond the gloom, Game show, More more >
  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Howard Yezerski Gallery, ICA, Institute of Contemporary Art,  More more >
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 See all articles by: EVAN J. GARZA

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