Scenes From The Opening Of The Public Trust's New Shepard Fairey Exhibit.
Name recognition is a funny thing.
Certainly, it's why Shepard Fairey — he of “OBEY” and the Obama “Hope” poster campaign fame — was commissioned to lend his mural talents to the buildings of West Dallas back in February. And, no doubt, that much at least somewhat came into play when Brian Gibb of Deep Ellum's The Public Trust gallery booked Fairey's “Printed Matters” show to his space beginning this past weekend and running through October 20.
But hype is another beast entirely.
And so the crowd's that showed to Saturday night's opening of this new Fairey show numbered nowhere close to the droves that paid 50 bones to see the visual artist DJ some at the Dallas Contemporary to celebrate those West Dallas murals he erected back in the earlier part of this year.
Perhaps the difference was simply due to the fact that the artist himself was nowhere to be found on this night (although, Gibb says, it's still possible an appearance from Fairey may be scheduled before the show's run is complete). People do very much enjoy rubbing elbows with names they know, turns out. They also — clearly — enjoy buying works of art from those names, too: Around half of the works on display at The Public Trust were sold before the show ever even opened on Saturday. The rest, despite being screen prints on various mediums (the left wall of the space featured works on wood; the right wall featured those same works printed on sheet metal), were priced in the thousands.
The crowd that did show to Saturday night's show didn't appear to be in much of a purchasing mood. They looked very much like Fairey's works: young, subversive and maybe a little angry at the direction of our national government. That, no doubt, was the theme of this show, with Fairey's prints almost uniformly glancing a side-eye toward our nation's capital and, in a few cases, explicitly encouraging likeminded rebellious types to plaster their own cities with their own outburst-laden posters.
So, no, maybe the name-recognition crowd didn't show to the Public Trust on Saturday. And perhaps neither did the hype crowd, either. But those with whom Fairey's messages would seemingly strike a chord did.
Whether that remains Fairey's actual audience, though, is the real question, I guess.