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Shepard Fairey on Fighting the AP Over Obama HOPE Image

Complete video at: Shepard Fairey, contemporary artist behind the Barack Obama "Hope" portrait, discusses the reasoning behind his lawsuit against the Associated Press. "I'm not a lawyer, I'm an artist," says Fairey. "I really believe anything that stifles one's ability to communicate and express themselves is undesirable." ----- What is the future for art and ideas in an age when practically anything can be copied, pasted, downloaded, sampled, and re-imagined? LIVE from the NYPL and WIRED Magazine kick off the Spring 2009 season with a spirited discussion of the emerging remix culture. Our guides through this new world--who will take us from Jefferson's Bible to Andre the Giant to Wikipedia--will be Lawrence Lessig, author of Remix, founder of Creative Commons, and one of the leading legal scholars on intellectual property issues in the Internet age; acclaimed street artist Shepard Fairey, whose iconic Obama "HOPE" poster was recently acquired by the National Portrait Gallery; and cultural historian Steven Johnson, whose new book, The Invention of Air, argues that remix culture has deep roots in the Enlightenment and among the American founding fathers. Shepard Fairey shot to national fame as the graphic artist behind a 2008 iconic poster of Barack Obama, a portrait labeled simply "HOPE" and in a style that could be described as Andy Warhol meets Socialist Realism. Fairey, who graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1992, was already well known among graffiti artists and fans, thanks to one of Fairey's early works of "guerilla" art, an impromptu stencil design based on an ad for Andre the Giant, a professional wrestler. With permission from the staff of Obama's presidential campaign, Fairey began distributing the "HOPE" image in January of 2008. A year later, with Obama in the White House, Fairey's poster was officially displayed in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Around the same time the Associated Press declared Shepard's poster was based on a 2006 photo taken by the AP's Manny Garcia and they should get credit and compensation. Fairey filed a pre-emptive lawsuit against the AP, arguing he didn't owe them. Fairey has appeared in the documentary films Andre the Giant Has a Posse (by Helen Stickler, first distributed in 1997) and Bomb It! (2007), and his work has been documented in the book Supply and Demand.
Length: 03:07


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