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Richard Prince

Richard Prince

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Richard Prince is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

Visual arts
The visual arts are art forms that create works which are primarily visual in nature, such as ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, crafts, and often modern visual arts and architecture...

 and photographer. Prince began appropriating
Appropriation (art)
Appropriation is a fundamental aspect in the history of the arts . Appropriation can be understood as "the use of borrowed elements in the creation of a new work."...

 photographs in 1975. His image, Untitled (Cowboy), a "rephotograph" of a photograph taken originally by Sam Abell
Sam Abell
Sam Abell is an American photographer known for his frequent publication of photographs in National Geographic. He first worked for National Geographic in 1967, and is one of the more overtly artistic photographers among his magazine peers...

 and appropriated from a cigarette
A cigarette is a small roll of finely cut tobacco leaves wrapped in a cylinder of thin paper for smoking. The cigarette is ignited at one end and allowed to smoulder; its smoke is inhaled from the other end, which is held in or to the mouth and in some cases a cigarette holder may be used as well...

Advertising is a form of communication used to persuade an audience to take some action with respect to products, ideas, or services. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common...

, was the first "rephotograph" to raise more than $1 million at auction
An auction is a process of buying and selling goods or services by offering them up for bid, taking bids, and then selling the item to the highest bidder...

 when it was sold at Christie's
Christie's is an art business and a fine arts auction house.- History :The official company literature states that founder James Christie conducted the first sale in London, England, on 5 December 1766, and the earliest auction catalogue the company retains is from December 1766...

 New York in 2005.

Starting in 1977, Prince photographed four photographs which previously appeared in the New York Times. This process of re-photographing continued into 1983, when his work Spiritual America featured Garry Gross
Garry Gross
Garry Gross was an American fashion photographer who went on to specialize in dog portraiture.-Career:...

's photo of Brooke Shields
Brooke Shields
Brooke Christa Shields is an American actress and model. Some of her better-known movies include Pretty Baby and The Blue Lagoon, as well as TV shows such as Suddenly Susan, That '70s Show and Lipstick Jungle....

 at the age of ten, standing in a bathtub, as an allusion to precocious sexuality and to the Alfred Stieglitz
Alfred Stieglitz
Alfred Stieglitz was an American photographer and modern art promoter who was instrumental over his fifty-year career in making photography an accepted art form...

 photograph by the same name. His Jokes series (beginning 1986) concerns the sexual fantasies and sexual frustration
Sexual frustration
Sexual frustration describes the condition in which a human or animal is in a state of agitation, depression, stress, loneliness or anxiety due to prolonged virginity, sexual inactivity and/or sexual dissatisfaction that leads him or her to want more sex or better sex, or a state in which he or she...

s of middle-class America
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, using stand-up comedy
Stand-up comedy
Stand-up comedy is a comedic art form. Usually, a comedian performs in front of a live audience, speaking directly to them. Their performances are sometimes filmed for later release via DVD, the internet, and television...

 and burlesque
American burlesque
American Burlesque is a genre of variety show. Derived from elements of Victorian burlesque, music hall and minstrel shows, burlesque shows in America became popular in the 1860s and evolved to feature ribald comedy and female striptease...


After living in New York City for 25 years, Prince moved to upstate New York. His mini-museum, Second House, purchased by the Guggenheim Museum
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is a well-known museum located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City, United States. It is the permanent home to a renowned collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern, and contemporary art and also features special exhibitions...

, was struck by lightning and burned down shortly after the museum purchased the House (which Richard had created for himself), having only stood for six years, from 2001 to 2007. Prince now lives and works in New York City.

Early life

Richard Prince was born on August 6, 1949, in the U.S.-controlled Panama Canal Zone
Panama Canal Zone
The Panama Canal Zone was a unorganized U.S. territory located within the Republic of Panama, consisting of the Panama Canal and an area generally extending 5 miles on each side of the centerline, but excluding Panama City and Colón, which otherwise would have been partly within the limits of...

, now part of the Republic of Panama. During an interview in 2000 with Julie L. Belcove, he responded to the question of why his parents were in the Zone, by saying "they worked for the government." When asked further if his father was involved in the military, Prince responded, "No, he just worked for the government." Prince later lived in the New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 city of Braintree, Massachusetts
Braintree, Massachusetts
The Town of Braintree is a suburban city in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. Although officially known as a town, Braintree adopted a municipal charter, effective 2008, with a mayor-council form of government and is considered a city under Massachusetts law. The population was 35,744...

, a suburb of Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...



He was first interested in the art of the American abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock
Jackson Pollock
Paul Jackson Pollock , known as Jackson Pollock, was an influential American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. During his lifetime, Pollock enjoyed considerable fame and notoriety. He was regarded as a mostly reclusive artist. He had a volatile personality, and...

. "I was very attracted to the idea of someone who was by themselves, fairly antisocial, kind of a loner, someone who was noncollaborative." Prince grew up during the height of Pollock's career, making his work accessible. The 1956 Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine article dubbing Pollock "Jack the Dripper" made the thought of pursuing art as career possible. After finishing high school in 1967, Prince set off for Europe at age 18.

He returned home and attended Nasson College
Nasson College
Nasson College was a private four-year accredited liberal arts college in Springvale, Maine.It was founded in 1912 as Nasson Institute and changed its name twenty-three years later, in 1935 . It closed in 1983, after which its in-town campus sat vacant well into the 1990s.As the Nasson Institute,...

 in Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

. He describes his school as without grades or real structure. From Maine he was drawn to New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. Prince has said that his attraction to New York was instigated by the famous photograph of Franz Kline
Franz Kline
Franz Jozef Kline was an American painter mainly associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement centered around New York in the 1940s and 1950s. He was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and attended Girard College, an academy in Philadelphia for fatherless boys...

 gazing out the window of his 14th Street
14th Street
14th Street may refer to several locations in the United States:*14th Street , New York City*14th Street Northwest and Southwest *Broad Street *14th Street Bridge *14th Street...

 studio. Prince described the picture as "a man content to be alone, pursuing the outside world from the sanctum of his studio."

Prince's first solo exhibition took place in June 1980 during a residency at the CEPA gallery in Buffalo, New York
Buffalo, New York
Buffalo is the second most populous city in the state of New York, after New York City. Located in Western New York on the eastern shores of Lake Erie and at the head of the Niagara River across from Fort Erie, Ontario, Buffalo is the seat of Erie County and the principal city of the...

. His short book Menthol Pictures was published as part of the residency.

In late 2007, Prince had a retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is a well-known museum located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City, United States. It is the permanent home to a renowned collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern, and contemporary art and also features special exhibitions...

, a comprehensive show hung in chronological order along the upward spiraling walls. The show continued onto the Walker Art Center
Walker Art Center
The Walker Art Center is a contemporary art center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. The Walker is considered one of the nation's "big five" museums for modern art along with the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum and the Hirshhorn...

 in Minneapolis. Maria Morris Hamburg, the curator of photography at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a renowned art museum in New York City. Its permanent collection contains more than two million works, divided into nineteen curatorial departments. The main building, located on the eastern edge of Central Park along Manhattan's Museum Mile, is one of the...

, asserted, "He is absolutely essential to what's going on today, he figured out before anyone else—and in a very precocious manner—how thoroughly pervasive the media is. It's not just an aspect of our lives, but the dominant aspect of our lives."

Prince has built up a large collection of Beat
-Film:*Beat , the smallest unit of dramatic action in a play*Beat , a film about writer William Seward Burroughs*Beat , a 1998 Japanese film*Directorial beat, an exchange of behavior between characters in a screenplay...

 books and papers. Prince owns several copies of On the Road
On the Road
On the Road is a novel by American writer Jack Kerouac, written in April 1951, and published by Viking Press in 1957. It is a largely autobiographical work that was based on the spontaneous road trips of Kerouac and his friends across mid-century America. It is often considered a defining work of...

by Jack Kerouac
Jack Kerouac
Jean-Louis "Jack" Lebris de Kerouac was an American novelist and poet. He is considered a literary iconoclast and, alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, a pioneer of the Beat Generation. Kerouac is recognized for his spontaneous method of writing, covering topics such as Catholic...

, including one inscribed to Kerouac's mother, one famously read on The Steve Allen Show
The Steve Allen Show
The Steve Allen Show is an American variety show hosted by Steve Allen from June 1956 to June 1960 on NBC, from September 1961 to December 1961 on ABC, and in first-run syndication from 1962 to 1964....

, the original proof copy of the book and an original galley, as well as the copy owned by Neal Cassady
Neal Cassady
Neal Leon Cassady was a major figure of the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the psychedelic movement of the 1960s. He served as the model for the character Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road....

 (the Dean Moriarty character in the book), with Cassady’s signature and marginal notes.

Describing his career and methodology in a 2005 New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

magazine interview, Prince said, "It's about knocking about in the studio and bumping into things."


Re-photography uses appropriation as its own focus: artists pull from the works of others and the worlds they depict to create their own work. Appropriation art became popular in the late 1970s. Other appropriation artists such as Sherrie Levine
Sherrie Levine
Sherrie Levine is an American photographer and appropriation artist.-Education:Levine received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1969. In 1973, she earned an M.F.A. from the same institution....

, Louise Lawler
Louise Lawler
Louise Lawler is a U.S. artist and photographer. From the late 1970s onwards, Lawler's work has focused on the presentation and marketing of artwork. Much of this work consists of photographs of other peoples' artwork and the context in which it is viewed...

, Vikky Alexander
Vikky Alexander
Vikky Alexander is a Canadian contemporary artist based in Vancouver, British Columbia. She has exhibited internationally since 1981. Working across mediums she is a leading practitioner in the field of photo-conceptualism and is well-known as an installation artist who uses photography, drawing,...

, Cindy Sherman
Cindy Sherman
Cindy Sherman is an American photographer and film director, best known for her conceptual portraits. Sherman currently lives and works in New York City. In 1995, she was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. She is represented by Sprüth Magers Berlin London in and Metro Pictures gallery in...

, Barbara Kruger
Barbara Kruger
Barbara Kruger is an American conceptual artist. Much of her work consists of black-and-white photographs overlaid with declarative captions—in white-on-red Futura Bold Oblique or Helvetica Ultra Condensed...

 and Mike Bidlo
Mike Bidlo
Michael "Mike" Bidlo is an American painter, sculptor and performance artist.-Life and work:Bidlo was born in Chicago, Illinois and studied at the University of Illinois , Southern Illinois University Carbondale , and at Teachers College at Columbia University in New York,...

 also became prominent in the East Village in the 1980s.

During the early period of his career, Prince worked in Time magazine's tear sheets department. At the end of each work day, he would be left with nothing but the torn out advertising images from the eight or so magazines owned by Time-Life
Time–Life is a creator and direct marketer of books, music, video/DVD, and multimedia products. Its products are sold throughout North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia through television, print, retail, the Internet, telemarketing, and direct sales....

. On the topic of found photographs, Prince said, "Oceans without surfers, cowboys without Marlboros…Even though I’m aware of the classicism of the images. I seem to go after images that I don’t quite believe. And, I try to re-present them even more unbelievably."

Prince had very little experience with photography, but he has said in interviews that all he needed was a subject, the medium would follow, whether it be paint and brush or camera and film. He compared his new method of searching out interesting advertisements to "beachcombing." His first series during this time focused on models, living room furniture, watches, pens, and jewelry. Pop culture became the focus of his work.

Legal defeat

In December 2008, photographer Patrick Cariou filed suit against Richard Prince, Gagosian Gallery
Gagosian Gallery
Gagosian Gallery is a contemporary art gallery owned and directed by Larry Gagosian. There are currently eleven gallery spaces: three in New York; two in London; one in each of Beverly Hills, Rome, Athens, Paris, Geneva, Hong Kong and Moscow.-1980s:...

, Lawrence Gagosian
Larry Gagosian
Lawrence Gilbert "Larry" Gagosian is an American art dealer who owns the Gagosian Gallery chain of art galleries, with three locations in New York City Lawrence Gilbert "Larry" Gagosian (born April 19, 1945) is an American art dealer who owns the Gagosian Gallery chain of art galleries, with three...

 and Rizzoli International Publications in Federal district court for copyright infringement in work shown at Prince's Canal Zone exhibit at the Gagosian gallery. He appropriated 35 photographs made by Cariou. Several of the pieces were barely changed by Prince. Prince also made 28 paintings that included images from Cariou’s Yes Rasta book. The book featured a series of photographs of Rastafarians that Cariou had taken in Jamaica.

On March 18, 2011, US District Judge Deborah A. Batts ruled against Prince, Gagosian Gallery, Inc., and Lawrence Gagosian. The court found that the use by Prince was not fair use
Fair use
Fair use is a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work. In United States copyright law, fair use is a doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders...

 (his primary defence), and Cariou's issue of liability for copyright infringement was granted in its entirety. The court cited much case law including the Rogers v. Koons
Rogers v. Koons
Rogers v. Koons, , is a leading U.S. court case on copyright, dealing with the fair use defense for parody. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit found that an artist copying a photograph could be liable for infringement when there was no clear need to imitate the photograph...

 case of 1992.


Prince's series known as the Cowboys, produced from 1980 to 1992, and ongoing, is his most famous group of rephotographs. Taken from Marlboro cigarette advertisements of the Marlboro Man
Marlboro Man
The Marlboro Man is a figure used in tobacco advertising campaign for Marlboro cigarettes. In the United States, where the campaign originated, it was used from 1954 to 1999. The Marlboro Man was first conceived by Leo Burnett in 1954. The image involves a rugged cowboy or cowboys, in nature with...

, they represent an idealized figure of American masculinity. The Marlboro Man was the iconic equivalent of later brands like Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren is an American fashion designer and business executive; best known for his Polo Ralph Lauren clothing brand.-Early life:...

, which used the polo pony image to identify and associate its brand. "Every week. I'd see one and be like, Oh that's mine, Thank you," Prince stated in an interview.

Prince's Cowboys displayed men in boots and ten-gallon hats, with horses, lassos, spurs and all the fixings that make up the stereotypical image of a cowboy. They were set in the Western U.S., in arid landscapes with stone outcrops flanked by cacti and tumbleweeds, with backdrops of sunsets. The advertisements were staged with the utmost attention to detail.

It has been suggested that his works raise the question of what is real, what is a real cowboy, and what makes it so. Prince's photographs of these advertisements attempt to prompt one to decide how real are media images.

The subjects of Prince's rephotographs are the photos of others. He is photographing the works of other photographers, who in the case of the cowboys, had been hired by Marlboro to create images depicting cowboys. Prince described his process in a 2003 interview by Steve Lafreiniere in Artforum
Artforum is an international monthly magazine specializing in contemporary art.-Publication:The magazine is published ten times a year, September through May, along with an annual summer issue...

. "I had limited technical skills regarding the camera. Actually I had no skills. I played the camera. I used a cheap commercial lab to blow up the pictures. I made editions of two. I never went into a darkroom
A darkroom is a room that can be made completely dark to allow the processing of light sensitive photographic materials, including photographic film and photographic paper. Darkrooms have been created and used since the inception of photography in the early 19th century...



Prince's rephotographs led to his series known as the Gangs, which followed the same technique of appropriating images from magazines as the Cowboys did, but now the subjects moved from advertisements and mass media toward niches in American society.
Prince in this series paid homage to "sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll
Wine, women and song
The cliché "wine, women, and song" is a rhetorical figure of a triad or hendiatris. It describes a lifestyle or set of behaviors which are indulgent or pleasure-seeking...

" in American niches, seen through magazines. He depicted the bizarre in subcultures such as the motorcycle-obsessed, hot rod enthusiasts, surfers, and heavy metal music fans.

These Gangs are recognized in his series Girlfriends, featuring biker girls. A motorcycle magazine he used featured photographs of motorcyclists' girlfriends, were sprawled on their boyfriends' bikes.

Prince's Gangs works are single sheets of white paper covered with a grouping or "ganging" of 9×12, 35 mm photographs. Prince did not intend any distinct relationship between the "ganged" photographs. An example can be seen in such works as his 1984 Velvet Beach, twelve Ektacolor-printed photographs of massive waves, clearly from a surf magazine. Another example is his 1986 Live Free or Die, gathering nine images of loosely dressed women on motorcycles.

Prince has said numerous times that he would like to be a biker chick.

Joke paintings

Prince's first Joke piece came about in 1985, in New York, when he was living in the back room of the 303 Gallery, located on Park Avenue South. His first Joke was about psychiatrists, a subject he later worked with often. Prince described the discovery of the idea for the Jokes beginning when he posted up a small 11 × 14 inch handwritten joke on paper. He realized that if he had walked into a gallery and had seen it hanging from the wall, he would have been envious. Prince's Jokes come in several forms. His first Jokes were hand written, taken from joke books. His jokes grew into more substantial works as he began to incorporate them with images, often pairing jokes with images that had no relevance with one another, creating an obscure relationship. An example of one of these peculiar combinations can be seen in his 1991 Good Revolution, which depicted black and white images of a male torso in boxing shorts set amongst doodles of a kitchen stove. These were set above the text "Do you know what it means to come home at night to a woman that will give you a little love, a little affection, a little tenderness? It means you're in the wrong home, that's what it means." In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Prince, like his contemporaries Lorna Simpson
Lorna Simpson
Lorna Simpson is an African American artist and photographer who made her name in the 1980s and 1990s with artworks such as Guarded Conditions and Square Deal. Her work often portrays black women combined with text to express contemporary society's relationship with race, ethnicity and sex...

 and Barbara Kruger
Barbara Kruger
Barbara Kruger is an American conceptual artist. Much of her work consists of black-and-white photographs overlaid with declarative captions—in white-on-red Futura Bold Oblique or Helvetica Ultra Condensed...

, played with image and text in a style that was becoming increasingly popular. Prince put jokes among cartoons, often from The New Yorker
The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...

. Prince described his early discovery of jokes and his sense of humor, as "I never really started telling, I started telling them over. Back in 1985, in Venice, California, I was drawing my favorite cartoons in pencil on paper. After this I dropped the illustration or image part of the cartoon and concentrated on the punch line." Prince's jokes were primarily satirical one-liners, poking fun at topics such as religion, the relationship between husband and wife, his relations with women. The jokes are simple, often relying on a punch line: "I took my wife to a wife-swapping party, I had to throw in some cash" or "I never had a penny to my name, so I changed my name." Prince commonly repeats his jokes.

Jokes became the complete subject of his prints, set atop monochromatic backgrounds red, orange, blue, yellow, etc. These works range in size from 56 × 48 inches as seen in his 1994 Untitled, to 112 × 203.5 inches, as seen in his 2000 work Nuts. His early jokes were modestly sized, but as they caught on he executed larger pieces. These Monochromatic Jokes question the importance of the unique, in high art. What is it that set these jokes apart from one another, the background color, the color of the text, the jokes themselves? Compared to other Appropriation Artists working in the same time period, Prince has a distinct quality between works and series. Works are distinguishable from one another or identifiable as a particular artist, but with Prince's Monochromatic Jokes, we are presented with yellow text upon a blue background as in his 1989 Are You Kidding? Differing from Jeff Koons
Jeff Koons
Jeffrey "Jeff" Koons is an American artist known for his reproductions of banal objects—such as balloon animals produced in stainless steel with mirror finish surfaces....

, for example, are not only technique and style, but also the significance given to making the artwork identifiable. In 1988 Koons was working with porcelain sculptures like his Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
Michael Joseph Jackson was an American recording artist, entertainer, and businessman. Referred to as the King of Pop, or by his initials MJ, Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records...

 and Bubbles and Pink Panther. These are two works produced in this year that are distinguishable. In the same year, 1988, are Prince's Fireman and the Drunk and his Untitled (Joke), which raise the serious question of what sets these two works apart.

In a 2000 interview with Julie L. Belcove, Prince called the Joke paintings "what I wanted to become known for." When asked to identify the artistic genre of his Jokes, Prince responded, "the Joke paintings are abstract. Especially in Europe, if you can't speak English."


Celebrities is a series that plays with the American obsession with movie stars. Following Warhol's lead, Prince would search out actors' headshots, promotional photographs which frequently lack copyright protection. Prince signed them himself, using the actor's name.

Car Hoods

Car Hoods is a series that works off of the early Gangs series. It featured images from car enthusiast magazines, as well as Prince's own interest with automobiles. Prince ordered classic vehicle car hoods. He then used the hoods to cast molds, which he washed in different colors.

Check Paintings

The Check Paintings series is like the Celebrities. It was made possible by Prince's own interest in collecting. Prince began to seek out canceled checks from famous figures in history ranging from Jack Kerouac to Andy Warhol. He put these checks onto paint-covered canvases and often paired them with images of the individual they once belonged to.

Nurse Paintings

The Nurse Paintings are a series inspired by the covers and titles of inexpensive novels that were commonly sold at newspaper stands and delis (pulp
Pulp magazine
Pulp magazines , also collectively known as pulp fiction, refers to inexpensive fiction magazines published from 1896 through the 1950s. The typical pulp magazine was seven inches wide by ten inches high, half an inch thick, and 128 pages long...

 romance novel
Romance novel
The romance novel is a literary genre developed in Western culture, mainly in English-speaking countries. Novels in this genre place their primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and must have an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending." Through the late...

s). Prince scanned the covers of the books on his computer and used inkjet printing to transfer the images to canvas, and then personalized the pieces with acryclic paint. They debuted in 2003 at Barbara Gladstone
Barbara Gladstone
Barbara Gladstone is an American gallery owner and art dealer. She owns the Gladstone Gallery on W. 24th St in New York City which was designed by Selldorf Architects, and she represents many popular contemporary artists, including Shirin Neshat, Anish Kapoor, Sarah Lucas, and Matthew Barney...

 Galleries, who along with Larry Gagosian
Larry Gagosian
Lawrence Gilbert "Larry" Gagosian is an American art dealer who owns the Gagosian Gallery chain of art galleries, with three locations in New York City Lawrence Gilbert "Larry" Gagosian (born April 19, 1945) is an American art dealer who owns the Gagosian Gallery chain of art galleries, with three...

, represents Prince. They received mixed responses, not all selling at the asking prices of $50,000 to $60,000. Titles include Surfer Nurse, Naughty Nurse, Millionaire Nurse, and Dude Ranch Nurse, the books from which they were appropriated. Prince said, "The problem with art is, it's not like the game of golf, where you put the ball in the hole or you don't put the ball in the hole. There's no umpire. There's no judge. There are no rules. It's one of the problems, but it's also one of the great things about art: it becomes a question of what lasts." The Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth is an American alternative rock band from New York City, formed in 1981. The current lineup consists of Thurston Moore , Kim Gordon , Lee Ranaldo , Steve Shelley , and Mark Ibold .In their early career, Sonic Youth was associated with the No Wave art and music scene in New York City...

 album Sonic Nurse
Sonic Nurse
Sonic Nurse is the 13th album by Sonic Youth, released on June 7, 2004. The cover art was made by renowned artist Richard Prince from his Nurse Paintings series...

 used Nurse paintings, and included a song called "Dude Ranch Nurse".

Richard Prince used the technique of modern rephotography and some think this series is notable for the technique of layering digital
A digital system is a data technology that uses discrete values. By contrast, non-digital systems use a continuous range of values to represent information...

 and analog media: the application of an analog medium (acrylic) to a digitized print (ink jet) of a digitized image (scan) of an analog print
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

 (book cover) of an analog artwork (original art portrayed on the book cover).

In the series of paintings, the nurses all wear caps and their mouths are covered by surgical masks, although in some of the paintings the red lips bleed through the masks. The final presentations preserve the title and nurse image from each of the book covers, though almost all else is obscured. Titles include A Nurse Involved; Aloha Nurse; Bachelor Nurse; Danger Nurse at Work; Debutant Nurse; and Doctor's Nurse.

Later works

Prince's series of paintings from 2007 on appear to be a throwback to more traditional genres of figurative art, and a departure from the pulpy and kitchy content of the Nurse and Jokes series. They are pornographic ink-jet prints overlaid with acrylic paint in a style trying to imitate Willem de Kooning
Willem de Kooning
Willem de Kooning was a Dutch American abstract expressionist artist who was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands....

. Prince makes the most direct treatment to the faces, hands and feet, which are bulged and distorted. These works lack the obvious linguistic re-contextualizing of the Jokes series, opting instead for a purely visual idiom.

In 2007, Prince collaborated with the fashion designer Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs is an American fashion designer. He is the head designer for Marc Jacobs, as well as Marc by Marc Jacobs, a diffusion line, with more than 200 retail stores in 60 countries. He has been the creative director of the French design house Louis Vuitton since 1997...

 on his Spring 2008 collection for the French label Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton Malletier – commonly referred to as Louis Vuitton , or shortened to LV – is a French fashion house founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton. The label is well known for its LV monogram, which is featured on most products, ranging from luxury trunks and leather goods to ready-to-wear, shoes,...

. The collection was inspired in part by Prince's Nurse Paintings.
In an interview for style.com
Style.com is a fashion website. It was formerly the online site for the fashion magazine Vogue and [W] W magazine featuring online versions of some of the magazine's content as well as internet-exclusive material such as event photographs and style-related articles, before Vogue developed its own...

 Jacobs stated that after he asked Prince to collaborate with him for Louis Vuitton, Prince started to look to cheap paperbacks that were set in exotic cities "after dark." As Marc Jacobs put it, "[Prince] asked me, what about Louis Vuitton after dark?"

An untitled work consists of the body of a 1970 Dodge Challenger
Dodge Challenger
The Dodge Challenger is the name of three different generations of automobiles marketed by the Dodge division of Chrysler.The first generation Dodge Challenger was a pony car built from 1970 to 1974, using the Chrysler E platform and sharing major components with the Plymouth Barracuda. The second...

 and high-performance parts such as a 660 hp Hemi engine, custom interior, black wheel wells, 14-inch tires in the front and 16 inch in the back, a pale orange paint job with a flat black T/A hood, as well as various decals and emblems. Another car sculpture, called American Prayer, is a 1968 Dodge Charger
Dodge Charger
The Dodge Charger is an American automobile manufactured by the Dodge division of Chrysler. There have been several different Dodge vehicles, built on three different platforms and sizes, all bearing the Charger nameplate...

 that has been completely emptied of any engine parts and interiors and is stripped of any paint and then powder coated. In place of the engine block there is a cement block.

See also

  • Cover art
    Cover art
    Cover art is the illustration or photograph on the outside of a published product such as a book , magazine, comic book, video game , DVD, CD, videotape, or music album. The art has a primarily commercial function, i.e...

  • Lesbian pulp fiction
    Lesbian pulp fiction
    Lesbian pulp fiction refers to any mid-20th century paperback novel with overtly lesbian themes and content. Lesbian pulp fiction was published in the 1950s and 60s by many of the same paperback publishing houses that other genres of fiction including Westerns, Romances, and Detective Fiction...

  • Metro Pictures Gallery
    Metro Pictures Gallery
    METRO PICTURES is a New York City art gallery founded in 1980 by Janelle Reiring, previously of Castelli Gallery, and Helene Winer, previously of Artist's Space...

  • Robert Morris at Sprüth Magers Berlin London
    Sprüth Magers Berlin London
    Sprüth Magers is a commerical art gallery owned by Monika Spüth and Philomene Magers, with spaces in London and Berlin, representing such artists including Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Andreas Gursky, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman and Rosemarie Trockel...

  • Nurse stereotypes
    Nurse stereotypes
    The profession of nursing is stereotyped. Nurses are commonly expected to be female and so male nurses are stereotyped as effeminate and homosexual. In forms of low humour such as get-well cards, nurses are commonly portrayed as bimbos and, in medical drama and novels, nurses are commonly...

  • Pulp magazine
    Pulp magazine
    Pulp magazines , also collectively known as pulp fiction, refers to inexpensive fiction magazines published from 1896 through the 1950s. The typical pulp magazine was seven inches wide by ten inches high, half an inch thick, and 128 pages long...

  • Just Another Asshole
    Just Another Asshole
    Just Another Asshole was a short-lived no wave art/music/sound art magazine publication project launched from the Lower East Side Manhattan in the early 1980s. It was edited by Barbara Ess and Glenn Branca.- Just Another Asshole: The Book:...

External links