press release

Born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1949, Richard Prince’s remarkable artistic trajectory began during America’s bicentennial, 1976, when Jimmy Carter was running for President and New York City was bankrupt. Living in a small East Village apartment he shot slides of advertisements without the blurb copy, and cataloged these commercial gestures as anthropological types: “mixed couples,” “girlfriends,” “cowboys,” etc. He used male escapist commercial art forms like jokes, sex cartoons, drag racing, and girly pictures, some of those from his carefully bought collection of pulp fiction novels. His blown up and framed “rephotographs,” as he called them, were shocking and unexpected artworks, and as puzzling as they were compelling. And this was the tip of an unfathomable artistic iceberg that would emerge. In the early 1980s he surprised us with his meticulously redrawn magazine cartoons, which were stylistically related to the rephotographs. No one thought he could draw—or paint! Then came silk-screens paintings of jokes and cartoons, hand-painted B-girl (bar girl) nurses, minimalist-styled sculptures constructed from custom car parts, and the countless collages pieced together from found images, now including— just after his extraordinary exhibition at Kunsthaus Bregenz—the scanned and over-drawn and collaged “New Figures” and Cutouts.”