Shepard Fairey, whose iconic “Obama/Hope” illustration became the banner of a political movement, has been called a genius and a plagiarizer, depending on who you listen to. Now, according to the Boston Police Department, Fairey is also a grafitti tagger, whom its cops arrested last night. An Associated Press story reports that the 38-year-old Fairey “was arrested Friday night on his way to the Institute of Contemporary Art for a kickoff event for his first solo exhibition, called “Supply and Demand.”
The Boston police were acting on two warrants issued on January 24 in response to complaints that Fairey had tagged buildings with his Andre the Giant imagery.
The Boston Globe, which says that Fairey has told the paper he's been arrested “at least 14 times,” adds the detail that Fairey was on his way to deejay the kickoff event:
“The artist was arrested at about 9:15 p.m. as he was about to enter a
sold-out dance event at the ICA on Northern Avenue, known as
“Experiment Night.” The event is geared toward a younger crowd, with
techno-style music, and more than 750 people were waiting for Fairey,
some of whom had bought tickets on Craigslist for as much as $500.
Fairey was supposed to appear as a guest disc jockey . . . at about 10:30 p.m., and an hour later
organizers told the crowd that he was arrested.”
Earlier this week Fairey had become embroiled in a copyright-infringement charge pressed by AP, which claimed his famed Obama illustration was based on a photograph the agency owns.