Retrospective: OBEY – “Duality of Humanity” Exhibition


My life changed when Shepard Fairey, OBEY Giant, had a solo exhibition in the fall of 2008 at White Walls Gallery in San Francisco. Attending this show and meeting him for the first time was exhilarating. The exhibition, titled “Duality of Humanity” has to be on my top 5 art show openings of all time.


Fairey showcased over 100 art pieces inspired by the character Joker in the Stanley Kubrick film “Full Metal Jacket.” In the film, Joker sported a “Peace” button on his helmet. The irony of this all was that Joker was in the United States military. The show’s pieces highlighted and brought to light the duality of peace versus war.


The show lasted a few hours with over a few hundred in attendance. The gallery was such a tight squeeze that the line to get in wrapped around the building along Larkin St. in San Francisco that evening.


Fairey DJ’ed music for the attendees that evening. Fairey’s DJ moniker is “DJ Diabetic” in reference to his health status. He played an eclectic mix and blended 80s rock with old school hip hop. Think of Aerosmith with RUN DMC. He also blended Joan Jett with A Tribe Called Quest. Very versatile in music genres. An awesome experience.