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May Day! May Day!

It’s official. Iconic artist, Shepard Fairey, is coming to New York City…. well, in actuality he is already here. The famous graffiti wall at the corner of Bowery and East Houston was wiped completely clean for Fairey’s latest installment of signature art in preparation for his exhibition at the esteemed Dietch Gallery on May 1st entitled “May Day”.

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Image via Wooster Collective

“May Day” will showcase Fairey’s new works for Dietch’s final project. Gallery owner, Jeffery Dietch, will be relocating to Los Angeles to assume his post as the museum director of MOCA – a huge coup for LA and sad loss for the NYC art community.

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“With energy and urgency befitting the title May Day, Fairey captures the radical spirit of each of his subjects, using portraiture to celebrate some of the artists, musicians and political activists he most admires. Says Fairey, ‘These people I’m portraying were all revolutionary, in one sense or another. They started out on the margins of culture and ended up changing the mainstream. When we celebrate big steps that were made in the past, it reminds us that big steps can be made in the future.’

In Fairey’s mind, the persistence of difficulties across all of these arenas— political, environmental, economic, cultural— points to that third meaning of May Day: a distress signal. “By now we thought we would be in post-Bush utopia, but we’’re still having to call attention to these problems,” he remarks. Like any mayday call, however, the sounding of the alarm also brings hope for help on the way. “If we stay silent, there’ is no hope,” Fairey muses. “But if we make noise, if we put our ideas out there, then maybe we can make a change like the people in the portraits have done.”

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In conjunction with Fairey’s opening, OBEY Clothing will launch its May Day Pop-Up Shop set to open Friday, April 30th. The pop-up shop will be located at 151 Orchard Street on the Lower East Side and runs through Sunday, May 16th. The collection at the pop-up shop ranges from clean and classic styles to more forward items, including slouchy tanks, tie-dyes, light-weight double wovens, military inspired jackets, and a wide variety of denim.

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We’re sure to expect great things come May Day…stay tuned, more coverage next week!

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