Lee Harvey has produced genuine and important art in many different mediums. His paintings, spectacularly colorful, can be divided into three main groups: Non Objectivist, Political Satire, and Faux Decorative.
Some of his art shows have involved the police or worse, and his gallery in Five Points created a volcano of activity credited with emasculating the local censorship movement when it was raided by police in the 90s.
His political art has been scathingly satirical and challenging to both the Right and Left of political center, leading to some very amusing moments in journalism both here and abroad. During exactly the same time that the Chicago Tribune was excoriating Lee's work as the most offensive art in the country in an article entitled "Republican Nazis?", here locally FolioWeekly was handing out the brickbats to Lee because they had mistakenly been given the impression that Lee himself had come out of the closet as a Nazi. (apparently the telephone technology which would have allowed them to fact check their brickbat before publishing had not yet been developed at Folio prior to 2004.)
Similarly, his constant production of political stickers has been noticed on more than one occasion, and in 2009, the political commentary associated with his work has merited inclusion in an academic museum at St. Lawrence University.
From the Techfest 2009 Show:
January 5, 2009 in Permanent Collection.
As part of SLUs Techfest 2009, Bart Harloe (University Librarian), Rhonda Courtney (Library Assistant), and Cathy Tedford (Gallery Director) will present a session on Whats Fair with Digital Images? A list of references is available on SLUs Digital Collections Web site.
Specific images from the Gallerys CONTENTdm Web site will be presented, including:
Wall Street, New York photograph by Paul Strand
Altar inside the Norbulingka, Tibetan Buddhist Monastery photograph by Alison Wright
My Squad, Quang Tri Province photograph by Patrick T. Stearns
FOX News sticker by leeharveyinc.com
A selection of 63 Vietnam War-era photographs from the United States and Vietnam that are part of the Universitys Permanent Collection will also be presented, as well as a larger selection of 211 photographs from the Permanent Collection.
This is the second time that one of Lee's political stickers have been included in a national collection of political street art.
Here is the listing of the work and why it was included in the collection:
Title CIA Approved Fox News Illuminati Mind Control
Time Span November 10-11, 2004
Geographic Location New York, New York
Subject commerce, entertainment, fear, media. politics
Dimensions 5 1/2 x 4 1/4 in.
Description + etc. Critics of Fox News, such as FAIR (July/August 2001) and Media Matters for America (July 14, 2004), consider the network to be the mouthpiece of conservative values and the Republican Party. --DLA, January 11, 2008.
Pedagogical Applications Dr. John M. Collins, assistant professor of Global Studies at St. Lawrence University writes,
"The powerful role of the mass media in shaping popular attitudes is undeniable.
Media studies scholars refer to the process in terms of "ideology" and the creation of "hegemony" (or what Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, following Walter Lippmann, call "manufacturing consent").
Media institutions, of course, do not have 100 percent control over anyone's ideas; we always have some room to maneuver even as our ideas are being shaped by our location in a mediated world.
At the same time, the case of Fox News--which systematically participated in the Bush administration's disinformation campaign in the months leading up to the launching of the Iraq war--suggests that we should not underestimate the ability of media institutions to shape "reality" when working in combination with governmental and other powerful institutions. In such cases, it may not be inappropriate to speak of a "conspiracy"; the convergence of interests among the institutions is obvious, as is the intent to achieve a particular policy outcome.
The use of the phrase "mind control" in this sticker, therefore, is a way of calling attention to the ideological role of the mainstream corporate news media in taking aggressive, militaristic policies and rendering them more "acceptable" in the eyes of the general population. The artist does so through exaggeration ("mind control" instead of "ideology") and humorous allusion to other existing "conspiracy theories" (e.g., "C.I.A. APPROVED, " "LEEHARVEYINC.COM"). [January 23, 2008.]
Acquisition Notes Collected in NYC, November 10-11, 2004
Notes-Miscellaneous From Wikipedia, January 12, 2008: [The phrase] "lluminati is often used in reference to a New World Order (NWO). Many conspiracy theorists believe the Illuminati, or the "Illuminated ones", are the masterminds behind events that will lead to the establishment of such a New World Order. Confusing the issue further is the fact that there are also several modern fraternal groups which include the word "Illuminati" in their names."
The image itself was turned into a successful line of t shirt that are sold both by www.quelquesoit.com and Jello Biafra.
Its fascinating to see Lee's street art work get recognized in so many places. Congratulations to Mr. Harvey.
Check out Lee's latest work at www.leeharveyinc.com.
Article by Stephen Dare