Rise Above (Merry Karnowsky Gallery)

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Fairey with rise above mural.jpg
Rise Above exihibit flyer
Rise above mural.jpg

A complete catalog of the show can be viewed here.

A slideshow of Rise Above can be viewed here.

Rise Above is a Shepard Fairey art show which ran at the Merry Karnowsky Gallery in Los Angeles, California from September 16 to October 14, 2006. A preview of the show was given by Jason Filipow (aka The Obey Bachelor), part-owner of Studio Number One. Filipow set up a web camera and broadcast the construction of the show's highlight piece, a 13' by 22' mural described by Filipow as "the most elaborate to date."

From Obey Giant:


The title “Rise Above” is inspired by the lyrics of one of Shepard Fairey's favorite punk bands, Black Flag. “Jealous cowards try to control... rise above, we're gonna rise above.” Beyond just a Black Flag reference, "Rise Above" is both an attempt to reveal and skewer abuses of power, governmental hypocrisy, and loss of civil liberties, as well as a call for people to rise above these problems. Fairey's work encourages people who don't like the system to change it or work outside of it. Peace advocacy and the questioning of power and authority are dominant themes. Shepard Fairey's new body of work contains politically-charged screenprint, stencil, and collage mixed media pieces which use metaphor, humor, and seductive decorative elements to deliver provocative but beautiful results. These works blur the perceived barriers between propaganda and escapist decoration, political responsibility and humor with the intent of stimulating brain and heart/viscerally and intellectually.

Merry Karnowsky Gallery

Solo Exhibition

September 16th through October 14th, 2006

Opening Reception: September 16th, 8-11pm

170 South La Brea Ave

Los Angeles, CA 90036


Commentary on the show from LA Weekly.

OBEY Your Thirst?

The line of literally hundreds of kids outside the Shepard Fairey “Rise Above” art show opening on Saturday reminded me a little of Dirk Diggler’s penis in Boogie Nights - as in, “is this the longest thing in the world?”

Thankfully I write for Shepard’s magazine, Swindle, which meant me and my homz could bypass the craziness outside and walk straight in. Inside there were approximately a million people, including Jared Leto (still rocking his teen goth look 20 years too late), The AFI’s Davey Havok (Jared Leto’s style icon), graffiti artist SABER (who created the biggest piece of graffiti in the world in 1997 on the cement banks of the LA River) and our very own Mark “Cobra Snake” Hunter, who used to be Shepard’s intern. I caught up with Jeff Penalty, lead singer of the Dead Kennedys and frontman of Black Fag, a gay Black Flag tribute band. Their campy interpretation of "Wasted" WILL change your life. Jeff told me his ultimate dream is to get Henry Rollins on stage with Black Fag, in drag. I don’t think it will ever happen - I mean, how is Rollins ever gonna get a frock over that gargantuan neck of his?

The exhibit, held at the Merry Karnowsky gallery on Beverly and La Brea, was called “Rise Above,” in reference to a Black Flag song. “Jealous cowards try to control… rise above, we’re gonna rise above.” The art was classic Fairey, a collection of striking, politically-charged collages in reds and blacks exploring the fine line between art, mass media and brainwashing. A number of portraits provided tender homage to some icons of our time - from Malcolm X (the largest and most expensive piece in the collection, priced at $7,500) to Steve Jones (the only piece which had NOT been sold when I checked).

The most amusing comment of the evening came from an unidentified hipster who was overheard saying “so was it Shepard Fairey who came up with the whole ‘Obey your Thirst’ thing?” I’ll check with Sprite’s coprorate branding office, but somehow I think not…speaking of drinks, top marks to the whiskey and apple juice cocktail being served up front, nil points to the fucking horrible green ‘Mescal Mojito’ which we immediately renamed the “Home Depot Mojito” thanks to its uncanny resemblance to paint stripper.

The gallery was so packed that - horrors - the bars actually ran out of plastic cups. There weren’t even any price lists for the art - “We printed, like 80,” said the gallery girl. At this point there were still hundreds of kids outside waiting to get in, so Shepard’s wife Amanda took control of the situation and loudly requested that all the lounging schmoozers (us included) please leave so that actual fans could get in and see the art before the show closed.

Pictures from the Shepard Fairey gallery show Rise Above:

Image from the Supertouch Blog
Image from Flickr
Image from the Supertouch Blog
Roses ptg.jpg
Malcolm ptg.jpg
ChineseSoldiers ptg.jpg
Image from the Supertouch Blog
Image from the Supertouch Blog
ChineseSoldiers Rubylith.jpg
Image from Flickr
BigBrotherEye Paper.jpg
Image from Flickr
NouveauGirl Paper.jpg
PeaceFingers Paper.jpg
PeaceOrnament Paper.jpg
Fairey photo 5.jpg
Fairey photo 4.jpg
Fairey photo 3.jpg
Fairey photo 1.jpg
Fairey photo 2.jpg

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