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Shepard Fairey (American, b.1970)
LOT ID: 81543
Big Brother, 1999

Lithograph
36.02 х 24.01 in. (91.49 x 60.99 cm.)
Signed, and dated, lower right; numbered, lower left
Edition of 200
Foundry/Publisher Obey Giant
Lot description
Artwork measures 36.02 x 24.01 inches (91.5 x 61 cm).

Executed in 1999, "Big Brother" is a simple but striking two-color offset lithograph which reflects Shepard Fairey's vision of totalitarian evil. The title of the piece is a reference to George Orwell's dystopian novel "1984," in which "Big Brother" is a sinister entity serving as the figurehead of a surveillance society. Fairey has said that his process behind the piece involved drawing half of a face and then mirroring it exactly; since no human face is perfectly symmetrical, this absolute, manufactured symmetry produced an unexpectedly disturbing, inhuman quality. The print has vivid colors and excellent color saturation.

Best known for his Barack Obama "Hope" poster for the 2008 presidential election, Shepard Fairey (b. 1970) has combined street art and alternative skate culture with the realm of fine art. Prior to the most recent election, Fairey was primarily recognized as the artist behind the "Obey Giant" campaign, designed in the late 1980s and early 1990s during Fairey's time at the Rhode Island School of Design. Fairey's body of work combines elements of graffiti, Pop Art, and commercial art. He has also worked as a fashion designer and advertising artist for brands such as Pepsi. Fairey's works have been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the world, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2011); the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, CA (2010); and the Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, MD (2005). He lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. In 2009, his work was the subject of a retrospective called “Supply and Demand” at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, drawing a record number of visitors for the museum. The exhibition traveled to the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh before moving to the Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, OH.

Selected Public Collections:
National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England
Big Brother by Shepard Fairey
  • Big Brother by Shepard Fairey
  • Big Brother by Shepard Fairey
  • Big Brother by Shepard Fairey
  • Big Brother by Shepard Fairey
  • Big Brother by Shepard Fairey
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