In the mid-1970s, Prince was an aspiring painter who earned his living at Time-Life clipping articles from magazines for staff writers. What was left at the end of the day were the ads: gleaming luxury goods and impossibly perfect models that provoked in the artist an uneasy mix of fascination and repulsion, disgust and envy. By 1977, Prince had begun rephotographing these advertisements in order to, as he put it, "turn the lie back on itself." Acting as art director, artist, and viewer, he imagined his purloined images as stills from a movie in his head. He developed a repertoire of strategies-blurring, cropping, enlarging, grouping-that revealed the hallucinatory strangeness, or "social science fiction," of his seemingly natural source material.
Inscription: Signed and dated in pencil BRC: "R Prince 1977"; typescript partially covered with white paint beneath image: "four single men with interchangeable backgrounds looking to the right"
the artist; [Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York City]
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Photographs: A Decade of Collecting," June 5, 2001–September 4, 2001.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Indexing the World," May 25, 2004–September 19, 2004.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Pictures Generation, 1974-1984," April 21, 2009–August 2, 2009.
Eklund, Doug. The Pictures Generation, 1974–1984. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009. pl. 104.