By now I’m sure you’ve seen your artist friends complaining about the “outrageous” gallery display on Instagram photos by the “fucking asshole” that is Richard Prince. And if you haven’t, you probably just haven’t been on Facebook. And that’s fine because Facebook can be extremely emotionally taxing.
So if you’re not up to speed and don’t want to perform a simple Google search, I’ll sum it up:
Richard Prince is making bank off of adding comments to other people’s Instagram posts, screenshotting them, blowing them up to fit ~6×4 canvasses and basically masturbating in his genius. And furthermore, the original Instagram holders are getting no credit. And no compensation. After searching through any pictures I could find of the New Portraits showing, on display at the Gagosian bookstore, I was mostly just extremely sad none of my selfies had made the cut. Maybe if I had kept that one up of me drooling? Drool is in right now. But after I could get past my own deflated ego, I easily found this the funniest and an extremely well-thought out piece of art. A lot of people would yell at me for thinking that but that’s fine. I was a monster in my teenaged years and I can handle being yelled at.
But think about it. This is something extremely representative of the times and that’s crazy cool. I’m someone who believes art that reflects the times is very important because how else will the future get to know us? Art should promote discussion, art can shock, and today Instagram is art. Instagram is art and news and fame and celebrity. It’s an important tool that has been utilized by now word famous models, brands and Richard Prince.
© Richard Prince. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photography by Robert McKeever. Photo: ? Richard Prince. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photography by Robert McKeever.
Very Kardashian, New Portraits is shallow and deep and outrageous and hilarious and deserves a pat on the back. And some people also think it deserves about 90k a pop to take a piece home. I don’t have 90k and I have nowhere to put a blurry blown-up screenshot of a JUNGLEPUSSY selfie in my apartment. That’s okay, though. I don’t need to own beautiful things to appreciate them.
I understand the argument, I get why people are pissed off, and they should be. Richard Prince just white man capitalized on so many artist’s hard work and if they want to send him bags of shit, they should have a right to. Every opinion I’ve heard about this phenomena has been valid.
There’s that quote that’s something like “good artists copy, great artists steal” that people keep attributing to Picasso but I’m almost 87% sure someone on Tumblr just made up. I’ve always agreed with it because if you take a look around you, everything is stolen on some level. But once you’ve stolen something, it’s now yours. There’s nothing new under the sun, blah blah blah.