Richard Prince: Cycles of spectatorship

If an artist’s work is dependent on popular media, at which point does media outpace the artist’s production? It is easy for Richard Prince to state that Tumblr was “invented for someone like [himself],” except that Tumblr is not really an invention but another reincarnation of existing human methods of exchange.

Most reviews of Prince’s “New Portraits” at Gagosian position the show as a logical step in the progression of appropriation by its most skilled promoter. I happen to disagree with this take on “New Portraits,” because for once, Richard Prince is directly inserting himself onto the works—it is not mere appropriation if Prince includes his performative snarky comments. From the 38 Instagram-based images printed on canvas, not one was shown without his comments as final word.

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