Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Shepard Fairey’s Obama, Part II

R1085COVERShepard Fairey’s second Obama commentary (because that’s the only thing to call it–more than art, Fairey is a master of cultural criticism), thoughtfully designed and gracing the cover of Rolling Stone. All those college kids summering at home while August slips through their fingers are gonna go nuts.

My first thought was the placement of the presidential seal behind Obama’s crown. Intentional, surely. Approaches a bit of bombasticness. The great Barkley Hendricks used the halo (or an initimation of it) to much more powerful effect in “Lawdy Mama,” his stunning gold-leafed portrait that typifies the 70’s mantra of “Black is Beautiful.

About his second Obama cover, Fairey writes:

However, a lot can and will change. As Joe Strummer of The Clash once said, “The future is unwritten.” In my illustration I make reference to Gilbert Stuart’s famous unfinished portrait of George Washington to capture the idea that, although we’re quick to judge, it’s too early to tell how Obama’s presidency will turn out. Hopefully Obama and all of us who have stood behind him will do everything we can to fill in our incomplete future the way we’ve pictured it.

It’s a great thing to ponder: As he enters the second part of his first year in office, will President Obama step boldly into the fray, fulfilling his promise of hope? Or will he suffer under the necessary weight of compromise?

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BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
August 2009
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Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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