Richard Prince Turned His Instagram Feed Into a Conceptual Art Project

Prince's reappropriation of one of Candice Swanepoel's Instagram posts.

Richard Prince, who was temporarily booted off Instagram a few months ago, is now being credited with launching a “contemporary art moment” on the Facebook-owned photo sharing site. In a blog post  from March 27, Prince laments being removed from the site for sharing a photo of his controversial 1983 painting “Spiritual Americana.” He writes: “Getting kicked off Instagram for posting Spiritual America was strange and confusing. I felt betrayed. I know there was nothing promised, but I felt cheated. I was happy sharing my work, my snaps, my pics. I enjoyed posting pictures of my own artwork and artworks by other artists. At times it felt like curating.”

But it appears that Prince may have the last laugh, after all. He’s back on the site and better than ever, having “added another wrinkle to his modern meta-take on sex, art, and appropriation,” according to business news website Quartz. In the past 10 days, Prince has taken to printing out photos from other people’s feeds (these people range from Baywatch star Pamela Anderson and model Candice Swanepoel to Jeff Koons), rephotographing them, and then posting them to his own page—a physical #regram. A lot of work, yes, but it poses questions about the ownership of images and our physical relationship to the things on the screen. 

Animal also reports that in a now-removed caption on a photo of model Jessica Hart, Prince wrote, “Jessica Hart’s new portrait 48X56′ ink jet on canvas. Will stretch it this week.” Which begs the question: Might he be planning on producing these copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copy works for show or sale? Until then, all the pretty models, portraits of famous people, and Koons sculptures you could desire are available on Prince’s Instagram.

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