Richard Prince, Rock Star? The Artist Indulges His Inner Musician With Trippy New Album-Cover Paintings
For his solo exhibition at Galerie Max Hetzler, the appropriation artist takes band names and song lyrics to form his very own "supergroup."
Richard Prince takes a slice of culture, tampers with it, and hands it back to us. He extracts elements from our cultural landscape that are so prevalent, they are almost invisible. With paint, photography, and collage, he takes media’s precious moments and immortalizes them as art.
Currently on view at both of Galerie Max Hetzler‘s Berlin locations, Prince’s first solo show with the gallery is titled “Super Group,” and features collaged paintings under the same name—an amalgamation of self-made “album covers.” With quick oil-stick marks and bright colors, the works echo through the spaces like reverb, tracing Prince’s own musical taste. From subculture names to the ultra-famous, everything is taken and stitched together, creating a very Richard Prince-like, slanted view of rock and pop culture in the West. Prince replicates lyrics and band names, like the Smiths or the Roots, and memorializes them in new constellations.
Throughout his practice—a career that has spanned some 40 years—Prince has focused on isolating images of short-lived cultural phenomena by copying them. Beside his peers like Barbara Kruger and Cindy Sherman, Prince is an innovator in appropriation art, and has pushed the boundaries of copyright and authorship far enough to go to court over some of his works. Just this July, a federal judge in New York refused to dismiss a photographer’s lawsuit over Prince’s use of one of his photographs.
The works in “Super Group” are like schizophrenic totems, with references so far-flung that it’s dizzying. Like the so-called “supergroups” (bands formed by members who are previously famous) that he references, the assembled “covers” become more than the sum of their parts.
The new works also recall the Hippie Drawings Prince created in the early 2000s, as he reintroduces the figures from that series. Having come so far in his career, it seems only logical. No celebrity is safe from the hands of Richard Prince—not even himself.
See more images of the exhibition below.
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