Richard Prince, Untitled (portrait), 2014

Richard Prince, Untitled (portrait), 2014

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Richard Prince, Untitled (portrait), 2014 
Ink jet on canvas
Dimensions: 65.75 in x 48.75 in

 

Richard Prince’s series New Portraits sees the artist’s practice of appropriation invade the realm of social media. Instagram in particular is perceived by the artist as an infinite database of visual material to plunder. Prince’s involvement with Instagram engages with the appropriating aesthetic that has characterized his contested practice since the mid-seventies. 
Unveiling the ease with which people give away their privacy for heightened visibility and their narcissistic need for recognition, Prince insinuates himself in various Instagram profiles. He comments on photographs, screen-grabs the images, then prints them. In this process, the invisible public of Instagram users is transformed into the more tangible presence of a contemporary art audience. As a protege of the Pictures Generation group that made art from re-appropriated mass-media photographs in the 1970s Prince borrows Instagram images to address the way people present themselves to the world, making this self-exhibiting process explicit in all its ambiguous connotations. A manifestation of the frailty of copyright and privacy in a world overwhelmed by images whose source is hardly re-traceable, Prince’s New Portraits are a powerful account of the blurring of the boundaries between physical and virtual reality.


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