According to co-curator of "Facing the Giant: Three Decades of Dissent," Pedro Alonzo: This sinister hand offering a can of black paint refers to the oil industry's common use of misinformation to deny humanity's impact on climate change. The artist Shepard Fairey signals the oil industry's lobbyists and public relations campaigns used to maintain positive public opinion of fossil fuels in spite of the devastating effects of carbon emissions on the environment. Fairey suggests that the oil industry is willing to paint the world black with oil spills to extract as much crude oil as possible cheaply. The artwork evokes new coverage of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska and the 2010 BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, environmental catastrophes that were caused by human error, poor oversight, and cost-cutting. The words "Decadent" and "Luxurious" remind us that the continued extraction and use of oil is a luxury humanity cannot afford.
Fairey's practice is abundant with references to popular culture, a strategy employed to create artworks that are simultaneously accessible and thought-provoking. The title, "Paint It Black" references the 1966 song by the Rolling Stones that deals with depression due to a lost loved one. It presents a bleak worldview of desperation where the entire world is painted black. The artist invites us to ponder issues of environmental devastation due to pollution and carbon emissions.
Paint it Black. Serigraph on 100% Cotton Custom Archival Paper with hand-deckled edges. 30 x 41 inches. Signed by Shepard Fairey. Numbered edition of 89. Comes with a certificate of authenticity. $900.