By Anne Johnson
NEW YORK CITY – Late at night a man works diligently gluing a colorful poster on a wall between Chrystie and Delancey Street. On the poster a young woman is painted in graphic red and black. The man, artist Shepard Fairey, quickly smoothes out the surface of the poster to secure it to the brick wall behind.
Fairey is widely known for his recent portrait of President Barack Obama that now rests in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. As far as street artists go, Fairey is uncommonly successful. But he does represent a growing underground street artist population.
An increasing number of New York City artists are rejecting conventional gallery spaces and taking to the streets and subway stations in an attempt to confront people with their anti-consumerist messages. The point to all of this? To jar the viewer by threatening the boundaries of public and private space. To interject opinionated works of art into public environments and force people to look, question, and ultimately act out against the materialistic values.