Graffiti artist or malicious property destroyer? Boston authorities simply say “criminal,” and the talented Frank Shepard Fairey got two years probation today for a graffiti case from 2000 in Brighton and two charges this year in Back Bay.
Prosecutors, in return for a guilty plea on the three charges, dropped 11 other defacing property cases against him.
“I am very pleased that a reasonable resolution to my court cases in Boston has been reached,” Fairey said in a statement. “I want to apologize to the City of Boston for posting my art in unauthorized spaces without the consent of the owner.”
“I believe in the importance of making art accessible through many avenues, and I will continue to advocate the use of legal public spaces for meaningful artistic expression and communication,” he said. “Freedom of expression is the bedrock of our democracy. However, I also believe it is important that people respect private property.”
“Shepard looks forward to continuing to bring his art to people everywhere whether it is inside a museum or in publicly available spaces,” said Jay Strell, a spokesman for Fairey. “As an artist with a traveling exhibition surveying two decades of his work, which includes many examples of public art and the iconic Obama ‘Hope’ poster, Shepard believes that it is important for artists everywhere to have access to public spaces to display their work, but do so in a respectful manner.”
Fairey will return to Boston on July 31 for a closing party at the Institute of Contemporary Art to celebrate the end of his exhibition there, which ends August 16.
“We are thrilled to learn that Shepard Fairey’s legal issues with the Boston Police have been resolved,” said Jill Medvedow, director of the ICA. “With this matter now behind him, the focus of the conversation can return to where it belongs: on Fairey’s artistic accomplishments.”
According to Strell, the show has drawn more than 100,000 visitors. The Fairey show will next turn to Pittsburgh’s Warhol Museum in the fall.