It’s common knowledge that Shepard Fairey’s work spreads through a variety of media, often bedecking useable items of popular culture. One of his applied arts endeavors has been album cover design, and his Subliminal Projects gallery announced a third exhibition of the newly composed music related art. 50 Shades of Black will open with a musical bash, having Shepard’s friend DJ Z-Trip as the guest of the evening, as he created the soundtrack to Fairey’s Sound & Vision show. The party will go down on Wednesday, April 16, while the exhibition will be on display through May 17, 2014.
50 Shades of Black
Inspired by the cover format of a 12 inch records, all of the 50 works presented at 50 Shades of Black will be Hand Painted Multiples. The record cover art has been a constant in Shepard Fairey’s body of work since 2006, as he himself acts as a DJ and a music lover. He first brought his albums to the public in 2011 at the Revolutions exhibit, which showcased over 70 art pieces. The following presentation of the musical thread in Fairey’s art occurred in London in 2012. 50 Shades of Black is the third exhibition of the same thematics, returning to the artist’s own Los Angeles.
Along with Multiples, the show will present a box set with screen prints of each of the 50 new album covers. The setup will emulate a record store with custom old record players, displaying a part of the artist’s own record collection, which will serve as the source for the interactive nature of the project. All the visitors will be welcomed to select records from Fairey’s collection and to play them while enjoying the artwork.
Art n’ music
The conceptual core of 50 Shades of Black is found in the significance music had and still has on the work of Shepard Fairey. He considers it one of the most democratic and influential media of contemporary culture, while his interpretations on covers seek to transfer the allure music has into the realm of visual. Finding parallels between socially engaged music and his own socially engaged art, Fairey selects a particular range of personalities and musical genres to transform into his signature designs.
In his artist statement, Shepard Fairey refers to the most moving encounters with music, referencing punk legends, the Sex Pistols, or the hip-hop renegades Public Enemy. He perceives all the elements of image related to music as important, as the political and activist content can be just as compelling as the style and character of band members. His goal is to applaud to good music by creating intriguing album covers, joining the enticing ideas with the unique graphics he is famous for. Guided by the strong belief that good art is engaged art, Shepard Fairey produces artwork which bears the energy and attitude of irresistible music.
Subliminal Projects gallery has been a space guided by Shepard Fairey and Blaze Blouin for 19 years, bringing the most daring art in a variety of forms and media. The 50 Shades of Black is the presentation of its founder, promising to be not only a great art show, but also a brilliant multimedia event.