richard prince’s new portraits are coming to london
The artist’s controversial exhibition of Instagram screenshots opens in London this Friday.
Never has the anti-art cry "but I could have made that!" been so loud, or come with the accompaniment "Hey Wait! I did actually make that!", than Richard Prince's New Portraits. And it's just about to get even louder in the UK as his controversial Instagram screenshots are making their way to London, for an exhibition at the Gagosian gallery that opens this Friday.
Way back in 1984 Prince was re-photographing portraits of his friends: "If you wanted me to do your portrait, you would give me at least five photographs that had already been taken of yourself... and I would pick the one I liked. I would rephotograph the one I liked and that would be your portrait. Simple… Foolproof" he explains.
Prince's method got a 21st century update when his daughter explained to him how Tumblr works and he got into "Birdtalk" (his phrase for tweeting), and then Instagram. His niece showed him how to screenshot, something he describes as, "one of the best applications in an apparatus that I've ever encountered. All time. Hall of fame. First place. Just what I need." and he began merrily screenshotting Instagram self portraits by the stylist Anna Trevelyan, sex columnist Karley Sciortino and many, many more. He also worked out how to mark other people's comments as spam, so that his showed up right under the image when he took his screenshot.
The unsuspecting subjects of Prince's Instagram portraits have had wildly different reactions to his work, with some considering them flattering, but many branding them misogynistic. You can make your own mind up on Friday 12 June, when the London exhibition opens at Gagosian's Davies Street gallery.
Richard Prince, New Portraits, June 12-August 1, 2015. Gagosian Gallery, 17-19 Davies Street London W1K 3DE