Mysterious Stephen Colbert Posters Return to East Village

By Patrick Hedlund on August 5, 2011 1:05pm 

EAST VILLAGE — Comic-pundit Stephen Colbert has inspired a poster-art campaign glorifying the tongue-in-cheek talk-show host.

Mysterious prints of the “Colbert Report” host were spotted in the neighborhood earlier this year, featuring the bespectacled funnyman in a riff on Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Soup can painting.

Now, posters of the mock newsman reimagined as a mash-up between the Statue of Liberty and Boticelli’s iconic “Birth of Venus” painting — accompanied by the words "Stevenus Coliberty" — have appeared inexplicably on mailboxes and walls throughout the East Village.

A spokeswoman for Comedy Central, which airs Colbert’s long-running show, previously said the network is not responsible for the prints.

However, the posters hint that street artist Shepard Fairey had a hand in their creation, as some bear his trademark tagline “Obey” in subtle print at the bottom.

Fairey could not immediately be reached for comment, and a spokeswoman for his Los Angeles-based company Obey Giant said he is currently out of the country.

The Fairey-Colbert connection would make sense, though, as the host has interviewed the street artist on his show in the past, and Fairey designed a poster featuring Colbert for last year’s Vancouver Olympics.

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