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Obey Obama

May 13th, 2008 · No Comments

Shepard Fairey was in New York last week, slapping up wheatpaste posters of Barack Obama around Manhattan, specifically on the corner of Houston and Bowery. However, at this particular spot, knowingly or not, Mr. Fairey applied his poster directly over a fill-in by graffiti writer MARTY, of the Smart Crew. Thing is, MARTY has had that spot on lock for a couple years now, and wasn’t ready to let it go.


On the left, MARTY’s spot, pre-Obama; On the right, Shepard Fairey’s Obama poster

The photos below, taken by Vincent Ng on Saturday afternoon, show MARTY taking said spot back. In broad-fucking-daylight. Extra points for doing an orange fill, matching the Keith Haring mural to the left.

When questioned by Razor Apple (who originally caught the story) about dissing MARTY in the name of giving a shout-out to Barack Obama, Shepard Fairey had this to say: “I don’t like to go over people ever, however, I feel Obama being elected is very important to everyone’s future including MARTY’s. It was not intended to be disrespectful of him, but if he chooses to be that small minded and petty about it I can’t control that. I certainly would expect him to justly re-claim the spot after the election.”  


But the story doesn’t end there. Later that same day, a mysterious crew, simultaneously pro-Obama and anti-graffiti, came to take the spot back.

Mistakingly confusing the Obama wheatpaste poster for a legal campaign promotion, they proceeded to scrub the graffiti off of the graffiti, err… poster. You’ll notice in the photo above that they also made a point to roll over the MARTY where it extended beyond the poster.

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Posted by: kimberly phillips · Tags: current events · graffiti · public art

0 responses so far ↓

  • 1 CreativiTea // Dec 4, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Hey, thank you for covering the unfolding drama of a streetcorner and the plays on artistic position and power it brings to life. I was searching for “Obama Graffiti” for an upcoming group presentation on “Graffiti as Art” at San Francisco State University.
    I would like to utilize your story if I may? All credits will go to you, and I think it will spice up our discourse. Peace, and long live street art!

  • 2 kim // Dec 10, 2009 at 9:24 am

    of course you can use it! we’re always happen to help out, especially to students! hope it goes well!