Jeffrey Deitch Gets Back to Commissioning Wall Murals, As Shepard Fairey, Retna and Kenny Scharf Paint a Library

Shepard Fairey, whose street art work seems so identifiable that developers won’t need to build for him a tracking app, has just recently finished up a mural project for a not-yet-open public library branch in West Hollywood. According to the LA Times, Fairey was commissioned, along with fellow artists Retna and Kenny Scharf, after Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art director Jeffrey Deitch took a tour of the under-construction library and thought murals might look nice on the sides of the building’s large parking structure, no doubt with the intent of also boosting interest in the MoCA’s popular but sometimes controversial “Art in the Streets” exhibition. You might recall that this is the second time in recent days that Deitch has brought in Fairey, as he had him paint a mural just before leaving New York. A few eyebrows are sure to be raised at Deitch suggesting big murals on public walls, given that just a few months ago, the newly-West Coast-transplanted museum director was catching a generous amount of flak for painting over a mural he had commissioned from French street artist Blu, fearing that it would generate hostilities among the locals. However, while he might not be able to dodge that coming-criticism, the whole mural-painting crew seems to have thought a bit ahead when it came to another important question, particularly in a financially-starved state, as Fairey writes on his blog, “Calm down taxpayers…I was not paid to do the mural and paid for my own supplies and labor.”