Obama "Hope" Artist Shepard Fairey Beaten in Copenhagen for Designing State-Funded "Propaganda"

 Shepard Fairey's indelible portrait of Obama with the word "Hope" below it forever redefined the way graphic design is used to propel presidential campaigns. But some people in Copenhagen aren't feeling Fairey's powerful imagery now that he's making it for their city. 

Fairey was commissioned to make a "Peace" mural, which isn't controversial in itself, but it was erected to commemorate the demolition of a legendary youth house—a destruction that symbolizes the disconnect between and increasingly conservative local government and the city's leftist movement. So last weekend outside a club, Fairey and a friend were attacked by two men who called him "Obama illuminati." He emerged with a bruised rib and a black eye. The Guardian:

"The city council is using the painting – directly or indirectly – to decorate the crater-like lot at Jagtvej 69," said local activist Eskil Andreas Halberg in a letter to Modkraft, a leftwing news website. "The art is being used politically to end the conflict in a certain way: 'we're all friends now, right?'"

Within a day of completion, the mural was vandalised by protesters, with graffiti sending messages of "no peace" and "go home, Yankee hipster". Fairey subsequently collaborated with former members of the 69 youth house to redecorate the lower half of the installation. His new version contains images of riot police and explosions, together with a new, more combative slogan: "Nothing forgotten, nothing forgiven".

Copenhagen has a long history of leftist intellectuals and strong radicalism, including the anarchist enclave Christiania, a self-contained city within a city built in an old military barracks in the 1970s. It's existed relatively peacefully for a few decades, but the city government has been threatening to shut it down, indicating its creeping move to the right. The fact that Fairey was beaten is remarkable—if you've ever been to Copenhagen, you know it ranks as one of the least violent places in the Western Hemisphere—and really shows how tensions between the left and the government are straining.

Read the rest of the story here.


AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at August 13, 2011, 6:16am

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