Shepard Fairey, the hip alternative-culture artist who has become a superstar in the wake of his “Hope, Change and Vote” posters supporting Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, leads the Contemporary Art Center’s 2009-10 exhibition schedule. The museum made the announcement April 28.
Fairey’s Supply and Demand exhibition, a retrospective of the South Carolina-born artist’s innovative and controversial work in such mediums as screen prints, posters, collages, stencils and stickers, will open here on or close to Feb. 20 (the exact date could still change) — just a few days after his 40th birthday. Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, where it's currently on display, organized the show. The ICA also originated the smashingly successful Tara Donovan show currently at the CAC.
(Photo: Shepard Fairey’s “Obey Angela Davis”)
Fairey will be coming here with the show, doing public art projects in the city and public programs at the CAC. It marks a return of sorts — he was part of the CAC’s 2004 Beautiful Losers: Contemporary Art and Street Culture exhibition, a group show that's quickly becoming legendary for its prescience.
“He has made a successful move into museums,” says Raphaela Platow, CAC director and chief curator.
The new season begins in early October with an ambitious — hopefully groundbreaking — group show curated by the CAC’s Maiza Hixson called Young Country. It will feature North American artists who use such recognizable civic signifiers as flags, mottos and slogans and regional landmarks to redefine the meaning of “American.”
Two other shows curated by Hixson will open concurrently with Young Country — New York artist Marilyn Minter’s paintings and photographs as well as her new new video Green Pink Caviar, in which models lick candy on a sheet of glass while Minter photographs from the other side; and a sound and video installation by the Cincinnati-based experimentalist C. Spencer Yeh.
Scheduled to open next January is the first solo museum show by Indian artist Shilpa Gupta, who has been earning acclaim for her work using interactive video and Web sites. The CAC’s Justine Ludwig is curating it.
Coming in March 2010 will be a Platow-curated show cut from this year’s schedule because of the economic downturn — work by Brazilian sculptor Ernesto Neto, who fills large objects with aromatic spices and powders, which often drip onto the floor. Another Platow-curated show, featuring existing work and site-related creations by the internationally known painter Pat Steir, opens in May.
Also opening in May 2010, and finishing the season, is another coup — an exhibition of contemporary art from Mexico City’s prestigious Jumex Collection, which will be leaving its home for the first time for shows at Miami’s Bass Museum of Art and the CAC. The exhibition, based on the cutting-edge collection owned by Eugenio Lopez Alonso and housed in a converted factory, will take a thematic approach focusing on dialogues between international and Mexican artists. It might have the title Where Do We Go From Here?.
Overall, the 2009-10 season will have eight shows. Platow says that the ongoing economic downturn has forced budget tightening but not a cutback in exhibitions. Unlike the current season, which was the first one she put together, the upcoming one will have a mixture of solo and group shows.
“I always wanted a good healthy mix of thematic shows, one-person shows and shows about an (artistic) movement,” Platow says. “I intend to always have an interesting, varied program.”