I was just at the ICA again today. The Boston AIGA organized an all-day event at the ICA to promote dialogue around Shepard Fairey’s work and its place in society. The event was titled “Design as Social Agent” (there was a silly point during a talk where Elliot Earls could not remember what it was and called it something generic). I arrived in time to catch the last talk, which was called “Something Borrowed, Something True.” The topic was “appropriation” in the art and design worlds, and it took the form of a panel discussion moderated by Kevin Grady, with Steven Heller, Elliot Earls, and Nicholas Blechman.
Before the talk started, I had just enough time to give the Fairey galleries another pass, and in doing so I realized that unlike all the other shows I’d gone to see multiple times at the ICA, I seemed to get no new revelations out of seeing the works for a second time. They already felt staid, beating the same old horse. Somewhat jaded and impatient, I went to the talk wondering what kind of academic overanalysis I’d just signed up for. As it turned out, the talk was great. It restored my interest in the topic of Shepard Fairey and his impact and snapped me out of this petulant jadedness about art/design I’ve been feeling a lot lately.