Richard Prince Panama, b. 1949

Overview

Richard Prince is an American artist best known for his use of appropriated imagery. Prince uses photographs taken from consumer culture—advertising, entertainment, and social media—to probe ideas around authenticity and ownership with his controversial practice sparking debates concerning copyright, intellectual property, and theft within the art world. Along with the Pop Art style associated with Sherrie Levine, Andy Warhol, and Jeff Koons, the Abstract Expressionist Willem de Kooning has also influenced Prince and his painting techniques.

 

Born on August 6, 1949 in the Panama Canal Zone (now the Republic of Panama) where his parents worked for the United States Office of Strategic Services, Prince moved to New York in 1973. While working at Time Inc. (then Time-Life), he began to photograph pages of advertising and identify typologies and recurring archetypes. His famous series Cowboys (1980–1992, ongoing) was pulled from Marlboro cigarette ads, while his popular set of Nurse Paintings (2003) drew from covers of pulp novels. In 2014, the artist once again established his ability to provoke controversy over issues of ownership and content, this time with Instagram. Prince’s New Portraits series consisted of blown up screenshots culled from selfies taken by young men and women on the social app.

 

Prince's works are currently held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Art Institute of Chicago, Goetz Collection in Munich, and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, among others. Prince lives and works in upstate New York.

Works