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Artists Richard Prince
Richard Prince Photo

Richard Prince

American Painter, Photographer, and Sculptor

Movements and Styles: The Pictures Generation, Conceptual Art

Born: 1949 - Panama Canal Zone

Richard Prince Timeline

Quotes

"Sometimes when I walk into a gallery and I see someone's work, I think to myself, 'Gee, I wish I had done that.'"
Richard Prince
"I don't see any difference now between what I collect and what I make. It becomes the same."
Richard Prince
"I seem to go after images that I don't quite believe. And, I try to re-present them even more unbelievably."
Richard Prince
"My studio is the only place I feel good in. There, I'm fearless; outside, I'm a mess."
Richard Prince
"If a picture was once worth a thousand words, one square inch of an image is now worth 360,000 bytes of computer storage space."
Richard Prince
"What I find is that the taking, the stealing, the appropriation of images has to do with prior availability, and it sets up a degree where things can be shared... It's like 50% off... You can let something of another emotion or another personality sign on your work, or co-sign it."
Richard Prince
"If, as Pablo Picasso (paraphrasing T.S. Eliot) is oft quoted as saying, 'Good artists borrow but great artists steal,' then there is no doubt that Mr. Prince is a great one, since he has stolen successfully for years."
Adam Lindemann, Collector and Writer for the The Observer
"I don't see irony in Richard's work in the end; there's a real pathos there."
Nancy Spector, Chief Curator, Brooklyn Museum

"So sometimes it's better not to be successful and well known and you can get away with much more. I knew what I was stealing 30 years ago but it didn't matter because no one cared."

Richard Prince Signature

Synopsis

One of the most infamous appropriation artists, Richard Prince has employed a number of strategies to question the authorship and ownership of artistic imagery. By rephotographing, copying, scanning, and manipulating the work of others, he has crafted a technique of appropriation and provocation. Drawing his subjects from subcultures and cultural cliches, Prince also demonstrates how easily we accept marketing messages and stereotypes, and how dependent these icons are on the context in which they are presented. Stripped from their original environment, Prince makes the familiar seem strange, and invites the viewer to scrutinize that which is usually consumed in a quick glance.

Key Ideas

By reproducing the cliches of advertising and mass media in the gallery space, Prince forces the viewer to confront how these messages are fiction. Prince specifically chooses iconic cultural symbols, such as the lone cowboy or the sexy nurse, which he both celebrates and exposes as false constructions.
Prince's appropriation techniques have invited multiple lawsuits, with mixed results. His process of borrowing, sampling, or copying the work of others has forced a legal and artistic reconsideration of the rights of reproduction and the ownership of images.
Akin to Marcel Duchamp's readymade sculptures, which were "chosen" mass-produced objects made art by their context, Prince's appropriation of work by other artists has prompted new thinking about the limits of ownership. While his tactics are sometimes questionably legal, Prince has "chosen" artworks to reproduce, and has been able to circulate them despite the protests of the original artist or owner.
Prince's similar working methods of appropriation and mass-media sources soon brought him into the circle known as the "Pictures Generation." Alongside artists like Cindy Sherman and Sherrie Levine, who also explored the ways that generic images connoted meaning, Prince deconstructed the codes of advertising and commercial photography, revealing their repetitions and cliches.

Biography

Richard Prince Photo

Childhood and Education

Richard Prince was born in 1949 in the Panama Canal Zone, where his parents were stationed with the United States government. In an interview with the English author, J.G. Ballard, eighteen-year old Prince maintained that his parents worked for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a forerunner of the modern CIA; given Prince's love of hoaxes, however, and Ballard's later career as a renowned science fiction novelist, this claim is dubious at best. The family later relocated to Braintree, Massachusetts, outside of Boston. Growing up in the 1960s, he embraced the era's distinct counter-cultures, even attending Woodstock. Prince admits to exhibiting obsessive tendencies in his adolescence, such as rearranging his room multiple times and vacuuming his carpet into patterns.

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Richard Prince Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Richard Prince
Interactive chart with Richard Prince's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Jackson PollockJackson Pollock
Andy WarholAndy Warhol
Alfred StieglitzAlfred Stieglitz
Willem de KooningWillem de Kooning

Personal Contacts

Barbara GladstoneBarbara Gladstone
Larry GagosianLarry Gagosian
Douglas CrimpDouglas Crimp

Movements

Appropriation ArtAppropriation Art
Pop ArtPop Art
Beat GenerationBeat Generation

Influences on Artist
Richard Prince
Richard Prince
Years Worked: 1975 - Present
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Kelley WalkerKelley Walker
Cindy ShermanCindy Sherman
Sherrie LevineSherrie Levine
Jack GoldsteinJack Goldstein

Personal Contacts

Jerry SaltzJerry Saltz
Cindy ShermanCindy Sherman
Jeff KoonsJeff Koons
Damien HirstDamien Hirst

Movements

Appropriation ArtAppropriation Art
Young British ArtistsYoung British Artists

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Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Sarah Archino

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Sarah Archino
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