In a recent gallery exhibition in New York, the early photo appropriations of Richard Prince were shown together for the first time. Made in 1977-80, the works grouped together advertising images using the same compositional elements, such as Four Women Looking in the Same Direction. These important early works led to the fashion appropriations of the mid-eighties; compositions of motorcycle gangs and girlfriends; and the Marlboro cowboy appropriations that Prince continues to produce today.
For his second exhibition at Sadie Coles HQ, Richard Prince exhibits new photo appropriations. They include a greatly expanded Rolodex of material and continue his coolly anthropological examination of high and low culture. Cowboys, cowgirls, biker chicks, actors, porn stars and pop stars, the various heroes and villains of our culture, are assembled together in categories alongside Prince's own art and personal memorabilia. The photographic constructions play with our subconscious familiarity with the images from TV, film and pop music and the meaning associated with these pictures. A group of glossy autographed 8 x 10s of glamorous superstars are arranged to include a real-life image from Prince’s own codex of American subculture, provoking a discussion about the structures of visual convention and consumption.
Richard Prince lives and works Upstate New York.