A genuine Richard Prince photograph?

I’ll let you into a secret. Richard Prince does actually take photographs, or at least I think he may. Not many – most of the time he’s happier ripping off other people’s work, to the extent of $3.4 million for his photograph of a Marlboro cowboy ad.

I don’t really understand why anyone would want to pay that sort of money. It’s not a picture I would want on my wall, but if I did why not just go out and make my own copy for considerably less. It does seem to be an awful lot to pay for what is essentially a can of the artist’s excrement (Piero Manzoni  got to that first.)

There is a nice story in an Independent feature by Charles Darwent published just before the opening of Prince’s show ‘Continuation‘ (at the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park, London until 7 Sept, 2008) in which he finds a rip-off of one of his ‘Girlfriend‘ series on the cover of French Vogue and reacts indignantly to them stealing ‘his’ work. (These were readers’ girlfriend photos ripped from the personal pages of biker mags and re-photographed by Prince.)

You can also read a review of the show in the same newspaper by Sue Hubbard, which I think gives an clear view of the man and his work.

I do actually think his art is of some interest, but also that photography is something rather different (and rather more important), and we shouldn’t really waste much if any of its limited cultural space on work that basically just isn’t photography.

Richard Prince isn’t a photographer. Or not much of one. Take a look at his web site, and under ‘photographs’ I think there are possibly a few that were really seen and taken by him. Perhaps the series ‘Upstate Photographs‘ is his own work (though equally it could be an album he picked up in a yard sale.)

Finally, thanks to Jörg Colberg’s Conscientious for pointing me to two rather wacky reviews, one in the Observer ‘Shame he’s a one-trick pony‘ and a second, which may, as Colberg suggests, lack logic, but I think tells the reader rather more about the work, Bidisha‘s Guardian blog, ‘Girls, cars and body parts: Richard Prince’s shallow American dream‘ – and don’t fail to read the comments. In particular arthouart writes “What really is at issue is the bankruptcy of irony in Art, like most of Prince’s work its an insider one liner, if you don’t get it you don’t belong.” Which perhaps gets to the root of why I think I’ve wasted far too much time on this already and should apologise to readers and return to the real world and photography.

2 Responses to “A genuine Richard Prince photograph?”

  1. arthouart says:

    Glad even flattered,I think,that I’m quoted here.A first.

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