Artists and beholders

Letters to the Boston editor, February 6, 2009
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  February 6, 2009

I found it rather stupefying that the Phoenix proudly toted an interview with Shepard Fairey on the same front page it used to complain about artists getting the shaft by money-grubbing businesses.

Fairey, who is notorious for having sticky fingers and “appropriating” other artists’ work for his multi-million dollar company, without giving a dime of compensation or credit when he can, is somehow painted as the innocent anti-establishment artist. Give me a break. You were so busy kissing Fairey’s ass you probably didn’t have time to ask him about René Mederos, the Cuban artist that he stole from to create one of his more popular T-shirt designs. Only when caught did Fairey’s company pull the T-shirt and pay the artist’s family a pittance of a royalty fee. (See here.)

Now Fairey’s most famous work of President Obama is proving to be just as mired in plagiarism — he’s attempting to stiff the original photographer. (See here.) Fairey’s proving himself to be the next Todd Goldman, and trying to say that finding something on Google means he doesn’t need to give credit where credit’s due. Funny, I found his art on Google — but he wants me to pay him to hang it on a wall.

Way to go, Phoenix — you really know how to side with the short-changed artists.

Lucy Gray
Allston

An immortal image
Thanks, Phoenix, for your great cover the other week, which hit newsstands the night after President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Just think, one of the most monumentally historic events in our nation’s history occurred only days ago and you managed to design a cover featuring a guy squeezing a woman’s tit. This image will look nice adjacent to the New York Times and Boston Globe covers that I hope to frame in order to memorialize this miraculous moment.

Great job, you boneheads!

Phil Goff
Arlington

EDITOR’S NOTE Phil obviously missed our January 16 cover story (on stands during the inauguration) about how right-wing nut jobs are gunning for Obama.

Poison in the well
Regarding “Toxic Talk: Hating Obama,” where did all the hate come from? Where have you been for the past eight years? Haven’t you paid attention to what the left has been calling George W. Bush? An author won a prize for a novel about assassinating Bush. Plus, there’s 9/11 Truthers, Michael Moore — the list goes on.

Jeez, if you poison the well it doesn’t magically clean itself up. In fairness, Bill Clinton also got a lot of abuse, but it turned into an industry with Bush.

Pat Charles
Spokane, Wa

Heating up
Thanks for covering the HEET weatherization barn-raising. I would like to see a barn-raising to weatherize the White House, perhaps with the assistance of the This Old House or Extreme Makeover: Home Edition crew.

If you go back into your morgue, you might find an article or two about the solar barn-raisings the Urban Solar Energy Association — the precursor of the Boston Area Solar Energy Association — did around Boston nearly 30 years ago. Some of these installations still exist and are still working. That’s good to remember, especially since it seems to be the future that’s coming around again.

George Mokray
Cambridge

Related: Radical chic, Inside the box, Slideshow: Shepard Fairey slaps a mural on the Phoenix offices, More more >
  Topics: Letters , Barack Obama, Politics, U.S. Politics,  More more >
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