Richard Prince Blog Watch: Richard Prince Doesn’t Get Mimes

Richard Prince.
Photo: © 2014 Patrick McMullan.Company, Inc.

It’s been much, much too long since we went bird-watching. And by that, we don’t mean ornithology, but rather the close and considered observation and study of Birdtalk, appropriation artist Richard Prince’s fantastic stream-of-consciousness blog. In his recent birding, Prince has covered everything from the odd parallels between James Joyce’s Ulysses and Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures, to triskaedekaphobia, the fear of the number 13. For our purposes, though, we’ll focus on his ruminations on the demise of the United States Postal Service, his response to Page Six‘s coverage of his work, and that most divisive of contemporary issues, mimes.

First, here’s Prince’s take on mimes:

I don’t get mimes. I get the mimes in the movie Blow Up, but I don’t get them when they’re working Central Park. There’s something lazy and desperate about the silence. It’s like I have no talent so I’ll pretend to be in a box. Besides… Harpo Marx had it nailed.

Fair enough, it’s tough to top Harpo Marx. Another beloved Jewish comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, provided inspiration for one of Prince’s most popular recent works by way of his seminal sitcom. Prince muses on a certain tabloid’s recent coverage of the resulting composite portrait, Jerry’s Girl:

I didn’t get the Post yesterday. But apparently Page Six mentioned my portrait of Jerry Seinfeld’s “girlfriends”.
I did the portrait a couple of years ago. I’m a big fan of the sitcom and one night, while watching, it occurred to me that Jerry, (his character), had a lot of girlfriends… during the run of the shows… over the course of the seasons… I don’t know… I started thinking, GIRLFRIENDS, the thought popped into my head and I thought about my own “girlfriend” series and my ideas about portraiture and publicity.
Two and two together.
Messing around.
No big deal.
Avalanche Art.
I did some research and downloaded FIFTY SEVEN Seinfeld “girls” and asked David Lazery at Two Palms Press if he’d like to make an edition out of the composite… mix master them together, put them thru one of those computer programs… razzle dazzle…spin the wheel, where it stops no one knows.
I thought about going to a police “sketch artist” but then I thought about those Nancy Burson composites back in the early ’80’s and decided the software she used back then would probably updated by now, so… use the update.
Stupid idea?
Of course.
But I thought the “outcome” might be a “popular” image.
“We could show it at the Miami Basel Art Fair”.
I imagined the reaction.
They’ll get it.
Real Wives Of Miami… gushing!
The image wasn’t complicated.
It wasn’t rocket science.
So much of what I’ve done has never had it easy.
I wanted to see what it was like to be the one most likely to succeed.
You could hang it in your living room and show it off… to your relatives.
The stupidity of the idea was hard to resist because it was “genuine” stupidity.
When I first saw the composite it reminded me of Gerhard Richter, Thomas Ruff.
It was inked jetted on canvas and looked exactly like it should. Unnamable. Generic. Dreamy. Made in China.
Like it should.
That’s all I wanted.
“Jerry’s Girl”.
When I sent the image out over twitter it went viral. For 48 hours it exploded on the social media. It even made the evening news out in L.A.
But it came and went. As quickly as it splashed “all over”… it was out, disappeared, “deleted”… and a million other stupid ideas took its place.
(It’s all about the last ten minutes).
I should of given the idea away. Let some other artist have a crack at it. Maybe they could of done something more with celebrity culture. Turn themselves into a contestant.
But I didn’t.
I’m stuck with it.
Maybe I should do Larry David next.
The man in the cape.
How many girls did he have?
Count them.
One and a half?
A wife and a promise from his wife he could fuck the woman who works at the dry cleaners on their tenth wedding anniversary.

And how does Prince feel about the USPS?

The present day Post Office is going out of business slowly but the going out hasn’t anything to do with banning books or bulk mail. I think the “sleet” has finally taken the mojo out of the mailman’s delivery. Its to slow, obsolete, and there’s way to much bad weather.
I could never be a mailman.

Well, Richard, to be honest, we wouldn’t feel safe having an appropriation artist for a mailman. #IdentityTheft

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