MFAH Buys A Piece Of Obama-Hope History

Anyone who drives by the Breakfast Klub can see a giant version for free, but the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is one of the institutions that has purchased a print of the famous Shepard Fairey "Hope" illustration of Barack Obama.

The MFAH has also purchased a print of the original AP photograph that Fairey used for his work; there's been some controversy over who has the copyright to it all.

The New York Times wrote about the purchase as part of a story on  "Viewing Journalism as Art."

MFAH photography curator Anne Wilkes Tucker told the Times the two prints raised interesting questions.

"Would we have collected Mannie's photograph by itself without the Fairey poster? I don't know," she said, adding:

Still, she said she strongly disagreed with attributing Mr. Garcia's success to dumb luck. "When Willie Mays was exactly in the outfield where the ball came down, that was not an accident," she said. "Photojournalists are like athletes in that way."

We've got a call in to MFAH to see what their plans are; we'll update when we hear.

Update: MFAH spokesperson Megan Whitenton Barry Walker, curator of modern and contemporary art and prints and drawings, says the museum is still deciding what to do with the pieces. "They are works on paper so could only be installed for 3 months, then should rest in a case for at least 2 years by conservation policy," he says. "We are awaiting the proper context in which to show the work."

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