My debut blog entry on Art21 is up now. It’s on the artist Shepard Fairey and the role his images of Barack Obama played in the election campaign.

The right fixated on the resemblance of Fairey’s aesthetic to something they variously denounced as socialist realism, Soviet realism, or sometimes simply, “propaganda.” Their art history was less than exact, and they missed a larger point. Such official styles, enforced by authoritarian regimes to “reify” the revolution in a static image of state power, is not at all the same thing as a popular image, distributed cheaply or for free, in the midst of a political campaign that felt at times like a social movement.

More here …