Shepard Fairey Acknowledges MoCA’s Censorship, Hopes It Doesn’t Get In the Way

12.15.10 Marina Galperina

Shepard Fairey responded to MoCA buffing Blu’s mural by defending Jeffrey Deitch’s decision. In a statement to the LA Times, he seems to agree it was censorship, but thinks avoiding the possibility of controversy is better than “fighting,” lest his opening be jeopardized or his art business associate dishonored.

Shepard Fairey:

This is a complex situation that could have been avoided [altogether] with better communication.  I’m not a fan of censorship but that is why I, and many of the other artists of the show, chose to engage in street art for its democracy and lack of bureaucracy…

However, a museum is a different context with different concerns.  It would be tragic for the break through of a street art /graffiti show at a respected institution like MOCA to be sabotaged by public outcry over perceived antagonism or insensitivity in Blu’s mural.  Graffiti is enough of a contentious issue already. The situation is unfortunate but I understand MOCA’s decision. Sometimes I think it is better to take the high road and forfeit a battle but keep pushing to win the war. Street art or graffiti purists are welcome to pursue their art on the streets as they always have without censorship…

…just not welcome in a museum retrospective of graffiti and street art?

Meanwhile, in light of Blu’s statement on being told to lie about agreeing to the buffing of his mural, Vandalog’s editor says he is “reassasing” his position supporting MoCA’s censorship and will respond. “Not tonight though.” (Photo: Jim Kiernan)