Exhibitions: Shepard Fairey's "E Pluribus Venom"

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Through July 21 at New York's Jonathan LeVine Gallery, "E Pluribus Venom" is a solo exhibit of new works by Shepard Fairey, which includes "politically charged paintings, screen prints, stencils, album covers and mixed media pieces rich with metaphor, humor and seductive decorative elements," as the artist notes. The title of the show, meaning "Out of many, poison," can be interpreted, according to Fairey, "as saying both that there is poison in the American system and that many individuals are motivated by venom and anger toward this system. 'E Pluribus Venom' is comprised of artworks designed to question the symbols and methods of the American machine and the American dream, and also celebrate those who oppose blind nationalism and war." Some art from the show is seen here.

As if that weren't sufficiently subversive, a show of Fairey's large-scale installations and murals, which opened in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn last week, was infiltrated by someone who may or may not be linked to the downtown-notorious New York "Splasher" case, which, in an ironic guerrilla backlash, is all about the defacement of street art. Not everyone "Obeys the Giant," it seems. As noted on the arts blog SuperTouch, the suspect's "attempt to ignite a smoke bomb in the crowded gallery was thwarted pre-emptively," but "it appears that some of Fairey's recent street-level wheatpaste installations have been splashed, lending credence to the established idea that the culprit is a collective of individuals rather than a sole offender." E pluribus, splash 'em, you might say.

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