Despite terrible tragedy France had experienced in November 2015, the Global Climate Change Conference had been held in Paris shortly afterward, as scheduled. Coinciding with the COP21 conference, the leading US street artist Shepard Fairey unveiled his latest installation. A giant spherical artwork entitled Earth Crisis was suspended between the first and the second floor of the Eiffel Tower and it was the first time in history that any street art piece had been mounted on France’s ultimate emblem and one of the most recognizable monuments. Known for his humanitarian work and environmental activism, Shepard Fairey had once again called to action, drawing attention to climate change as the most serious problem of our time.
The piece Earth Crisis measured eight meters in diameter, weighing 2.3 tons, and it was implemented in collaboration with the Parisian Galerie Itinerrance. Placed within the Eiffel Tower and suspended 60 meters above the ground, the spherical artwork featured interlocking mandala shields and ornamental floral designs. Now, here comes an extension of the Earth Crisis installation. It will be in a form of an exhibition entitled Earth Crisis that will be opened soon at the Galerie Itinerrance. For the opening of its new space, the gallery has decided to present the original artwork by Shepard Fairey, as one of the world’s most provocative contemporary artists. The upcoming exhibition is envisioned as the anticipated next chapter of the Earth Crisis installation. It will show Fairey’s newest body of artworks, including a series of six letterpress prints, mixed media paintings, collectible globe sculptures, and various books. Again, all of the artist’s artworks are environmentally themed, so every art piece is created in blue and aqua tones to remind us that we need clean air, water, and vegetation to sustain the planet. In addition to the exhibition, Shepard Fairey will set out to paint three new murals around Paris.
The Earth Crisis installation was not the first time Shepard Fairey had drawn attention to global environmental problems. He was among the participators of several panels and conferences dedicated to the preservation of the environment and many of his pieces directly focus on the problems of sustainability, pollution and climate change. You might remember his Earth Day statement and artworks which illustrate the environmental problems we’re facing today. One of the artist’s biggest concerns is certainly the ignorance, unawareness, and denial of the problems that in the long run inhibit the urgent actions. On Obey Giant’s blog Shepard Fairey declared: “My political stance on protecting the planet is driven by my concern for the quality of life for future generations. When I look at the motives of those who deny climate change, they are not driven by a quest for truth, but by greed or, in the case of politicians, the benefit of aligning themselves with certain corporate donors”. He further stated that he was not an alarmist, but he thought that the understanding of Earth crisis was of the highest priority.
Shepard Fairey’s installation was on view from November 26, 2015, throughout December 2015. It was truly a spectacular introduction to the United Nations World Conference on climate change and the gesture that came with an even deeper message considering the recent Paris attacks. The Earth Crisis public piece had opened much-needed conversations about the fate of the planet and had risen awareness of the environmental problems we all have to face, not as individuals or groups with different interests, but as humanity as a whole. The opening of the upcoming Earth Crisis exhibition at the Galerie Itinerrance is scheduled for June 24, 2016, in the presence of Shepard Fairey himself. All of the proceeds from the exhibition will be donated to support a global environmental organization - 350.org.
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Featured image: Shepard Fairey - Earth Crisis at Eiffel Tower. All images courtesy of Obey Giant unless credited otherwise. Video courtesy of Galerie Itinerrance.