Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Richard Prince ordered to destroy (someone else’s) lucrative artwork

A US federal judge ruled against the Gagosian gallery and Prince for unfair use of “appropriated” images.


Click the Photo to view the story.  Photograph: Canal Zone


As a photographer I am naturally opposed to Mr. Prince’s practice of “Rephotography”…I have never really understood how anyone could appreciate it.  I would generally refer to it as simply ‘hipster garbage’.  So to really analyze it I have to remove myself from my thoughts and feelings as a photog. 

As far as technique goes….he could be using a xerox for all that matters…really.  Lets just get past this.  His composition…photographically, isn’t his own…however through perspective and creative cropping he does impart his own composition to this work…(sorry; inner feelings)  Seriously…the real ‘Art’ in this is the mutilation of the photographs…taken by French photographer Patrick Cariou.  This very well is the heart of it.  I feel its a indictment of society or maybe the photographer or maybe both….let me explain.  Prince removes faces or facial features like eyes…mouth, etc.  Removing that seems to remove the very “soul” of a photo…to us in the west….the actual soul to others namely…we are to assume, those pictured.  It is also an indictment of how we prefer to see things in this nature…How we can peruse the local grocery magazine rack, smilingly flip through a National Geographic mag…taking in the horrible suffering from around the globe….then glibly grab our Pop-Tarts and pick up Junior at soccer.  An indictment of the Photog for feeding us those images; well composed photos of interesting – but dangerous – people-things. 

But does Prince use these photos like a child uses newsprint in Papier Mache?  I don’t think so…because of those artistic accusations…the artwork wouldn’t feel at all the same if these were just throw away shots of anybodies. 

The reality is Richard Prince’s work only really works if it is someone else’s.  It drives the story…yeah, the PR.  Prince is self admittedly talentless…someone with his same intent could simply take very similar pictures and use those…and that is it really.  The art is repulsive to some…brilliant to others – that is what it take in today’s market.  Something controversial…and lots of PR.

Me…I find it fucking stupid.  I would probably kick his ass and photograph it rapid release with rear curtain flash…(so it looked like I was the Flash – that’s the superhero-you strobist punks)  

Anyway…He lost in court not for any reason relating to the actual use of the photos…but because the value of Mr Cariou’s photos were now diminished…Yep.

I would like to see Carious’ face the first time he showed the work and someone said “isn’t that a Prince?”

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