Richard Prince photographer & artist
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Since the late 1970s, Richard Prince has reshaped the definitions of authorship, possession, and reputation through prospecting photographs from mainstream media, advertising, and film. Applying his knowledge of the dynamic transactions of expression to the creation of sculpture, he created a distinctive signature packed with the traces of many signatures, but undoubtedly his own. A perceptive chronicler and enthusiastic collector of American vernaculars and their importance in creating American identity, he has measured the depths of bigotry, misogyny, and hysteria in popular humor; the mystical nature of cowboys, bikers, unique cars, and celebrities; and most recently, the appeal of pornographic fiction and soft porn, generating unexpected stars like that highly coveted painting of the nurse.
Richard Prince was born in Panama Canal Zone in 1949, then a part of the United States, and settled in 1954 to a neighborhood of Boston. In 1973 he shifted to New York, and he became acquainted with Experimental Art. When working in Time-Life Building as the maker of magazine cuttings, he discovered the possibility of using commercial imagery — all which would be left to him when he had cut out articles — as a component in his painting. The purposely realistic look of photographs connected Prince to peers such as Cindy Sherman and Jack Goldstein, who used imagery to obscure the distinction between fact and artifice. Prince’s decontextualization of images discovered and his involvement in pop culture have often put him alongside contemporary exploitation musicians, including Barbara Kruger and Sherrie Levine.
Prince’s artwork has encompassed a variety of subjects, but the landscape remains pre-eminent. It is not necessarily a landscape of precise observation. Instead, it is a poetic landscape that exposes the sometimes secret, fundamental framework or explores invisible structures and ephemeral anomalies that permeate our understanding of space and property. Landscape factors that were the focus of his research ranged from wind and deforestation to aurora borealis and other cosmological activities. Most of his paintings question our suppositions about traditional landscape images and suggests unique, often mechanical, or electrical strategies for their representation.
Along with photos of pre-existing pictures, Prince created a collection of paintings of monochrome Jokes, e.g., Eat, Sleep and Drink, 1989. Jokes will be seen as hoods for another one, masking harsh criticism under excellent, dissociated sarcasm. Prince’s Jokes get this impact, sometimes disowning people’s prejudices, either sexist, racial, or homophobic. Prince takes back these dark lands for his sculpture, trying to appropriate their contents to make them transparent and call attention to their life.
Prince is now exhibiting at art museums all over Canada and internationally after his solo exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1972. His paintings appear in a variety of galleries, including the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Gallery in Ottawa, the Canada Council Art Fund, and the Mendel Gallery in Saskatoon. Other commercial and private owners have since purchased his art.