The Washington Post

Occupy’s most controversial art: Burning money, saints in suits

(Courtesy Shepard Fairey/The Occupation Party)

In New York, the “No Comment” art exhibit, which closed yesterday, occupied the former J.P. Morgan building, across the street from the New York Stock Exchange. An art response organized by Loft in the Red Zone, “No Comment” exhibited everything from anti-capitalist paintings to protesters’ clever signs. Rolling Stone spoke with an artist who flew from Berlin to participate. Although many art bloggers praised the work and the spirit of community that emerged from the pop-up exhibit, Hyperallergic was critical of one display:

At one point a flag made of hundreds of real one dollar bills with burn holes was strung to the ceiling. Several visitors, many of them I recognized as protesters, began lighting the flag on fire as pieces of the bills melted off and smoldered on the floor. Considering that both Occupy Wall Street and Loft in the Red Zone were hoping to raise $5,000 that night to keep the exhibition space open, it was disturbing to watch all that money go to waste.

See more of the art from “No Comment” here:

Famous actors and musicians have taken their turns in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, but the first art celebrity to lend his name to Occupy is, naturally, Shepard Fairey. The artist behind the famous Obama “Hope” poster designed an invitation to Saturday’s Occupy Time Square event, featuring a portrait of a woman inspired by the Black Power movement.

Fairey’s “Hope” poster, which is now in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection, surely spurred the Occupy Web site to enlist graphic designers to make posters available for free download. In red and white, some of the works crib Fairey’s propaganda-inspired graphics, while others aim for a more abstract representation of Occupy.

(Emily S./Courtesy of Occupy Together)

(Jimmy/Courtesy of Occupy Together)

(Courtesy of Joel Richardson)

But the most homegrown and accessible form of art in Occupy will always be the humble hand-painted sign .


GALLERY: Click the image to view images of Occupy protests around the world.

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.