A visual journey which provokes reflections upon humanitarian themes, existential transitions, social utopias and values outside the law: this is the exhibition Make Art Not War by the street artist Shepard Fairey, known by his artistic name as Obey. The exhibition is hosted at Palazzo Medici Ricardi in Florence, from July 9 to October 20, and recreates in the museum an ideal foray into the Metropolitan night. The exhibition displays the larger works and the small silk-screen prints of Obey which touch upon current themes like women, the environment, peace and culture. The initiative which gave Obey international visibility was the Hope poster, which reproduced the stylised face of Barack Obama in four colour prints, becoming the icon of the electoral campaign which brought the representative of the Democratic party to the White House.
“Obey,” explains Gianluca Marziani, curator of the exhibition alongside Stefano Antonelli, “is the graphic and conceptual epilogue of the best urban art in circulation. He is the fluid prototype of the new political artist, because he has understood that pressing themes are tackled with symbols and visual intelligence, with the rapid impact of a message that the viewer can recognize him/herself in without being confused. Artworks usually use photographs as an editorial outline, but in the case of OBEY, every piece is concluded with a quick photo taken on a smartphone, achieving the fluid stage of the creative process, going beyond simple documentation.