In the mid-1970s, Richard 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 re-photographing 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.
Richard Prince (American, b. 1949)
Untitled (four single men with interchangeable backgrounds looking to the right)
Mixed media on paper; 23 x 19 in. (58.4 x 48.3 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Alfred Stieglitz Society Gifts, 2000 (2000.123)
© Richard Prince