how the suicide girls took their instagram back from richard prince

Instagram users @suicidegirls reclaim their image from controversial artist Richard Prince, who appropriated and sold it for $90,000.

by Felicity Kinsella
|
29 May 2015, 1:45pm

The Creators Project: We Talked to the Suicide Girls About Richard Prince's "Appropriation Art"

Recently, artist Richard Prince displayed new works in his controversial series of appropriated Instagram screenshots at Frieze New York, reminding us all that once you let something loose in the digital stratosphere, it no longer belongs to you. Is it ok that he's not actually breaking any laws by selling another person's image as his own? Since news has broken that the images sold for $90,000 a pop, Prince's practice has catalyzed major discussion around copyright, privacy and appropriation.

The only original input into the designs were cryptic comments made from Prince's own Instagram account. On SuicideGirl's post he commented "Private Lives, mind if I sneeze on," before screenshotting it and blowing it up on a six foot scale. A collective of models and burlesque performers with 3.3 million followers, SuicideGirls did not go down the (as yet unsuccessful by everyone else who has tried) suing route, but instead decided to come back with a cool riposte.

Founder Missy Suicide posted this to the group's blog, selling the exact same artwork (with the addition of one more comment from them; "true art") for $90 instead of $90,000. Instead of tens of thousands of dollars going to a millionaire artist, SuicideGirls claim that profits from prints bought directly from them - the people who actually created the image - will go to charity. What are you gonna spend your dollar on?

See how Sad Girl artist Audrey Wollen responded when Richard Prince appropriated her Instagram, and what she thought of his latest show.

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