Like Warhol in the 1960s, Prince is perfectly attuned to the foibles and vanities of his time, especially the dominant role that celebrity and spectacle plays in every aspect of our culture. He has cultivated the shadowy, anti-heroic persona of his spiritual forefather, that of the elusive trickster who purloins and recycles seductive or explosive imagery (even occasionally working under pseudonyms). In his most recent Publicity series, the artist created Duchampian "assisted readymades" by obsessively collecting 8 x 10-inch glossy promotional photographs of show business personalities-in this example, Barbra Streisand, Prince, Sid Vicious, and Sylvester Stallone. Interspersing "authentic" autographs from celebrities (or usually their assistants) with those forged by the artist himself, Prince makes explicit the issues of authorship and appropriation that he has explored throughout his career, by demonstrating that the meanings of images are determined primarily by the unruly desires of the viewer.
Inscription: Signed in ink on printed card attached to frame verso: "R [illegible]"; printed text on card affixed to frame verso: "Left to right an inscribed Barbara // Streisand, the artist formerly known as // Prince, Sid Vicious, with an attached // untitled "Joke" pin and Sylvester Stallone // with a signed card by Stallone. // [signature] 1999"
the artist; [Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York City]; Marion and James Cohen, New York City