Shepard Fairey first made a name for himself with Andre the Giant Has a Posse/OBEY, a poster and sticker movement that featured the aforementioned slogan and a close-up of the French wrestling legend's eyes — it was a big deal, at least in the corner of the world where skateboarding and graffiti intersected. By 2008, Fairey's work was immediately recognizable to the entire world, thanks to his iconic Hope portrait of Barack Obama. This is how the underground moves overground, by surreptitiously filtering through the walls of the Academy until it's in the gallery proper. Western Expansion, the new exhibition at the Philip Slein Gallery (1319 Washington Avenue; 314-621-4634 or www.philipsleingallery.com), features work by a selection of artists who have made that transition from outsider to insider — or at least to critically acceptable — including Fairey, Parisian stencil artist Blek le Rat and master of lowbrow religious iconography Van Arno. Western Expansion opens with a free public reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, September 16. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, and the exhibition remains up through Saturday, October 30.
Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: Sept. 16. Continues through Oct. 30, 2010