Richard Prince sued again

02.09.09

Richard Prince, from the exhibition Canal Zone, 2008

Richard Prince, from the exhibition Canal Zone, 2008

The Art Newspaper has reported that “French photographer Patrick Cariou has launched a lawsuit against Richard Prince, claiming that the artist improperly lifted images from Cariou’s photographic survey of Rastafarian culture for a recent series of paintings. The suit, filed in New York, also names as defendants Larry Gagosian, Prince’s dealer who displayed the series in a recent show titled “Canal Zone”, and publishing house Rizzoli, which co-produced the catalogue. In addition to seeking unspecified damages for copyright infringement, the lawsuit also demands the “impounding, destruction, or other disposition” of all of the paintings, unsold catalogues and preparatory materials involved in the making of the works.”

Spiritual America 1983 (A photograph by Gary Gross by Richard Prince)

“Prince, whose work typically incorporates images from a variety of sources, has previously incurred some resentment for his practice. In the 1980s photographer Garry Gross sued Prince over Spiritual America, a 1983 work that consisted of a blown-up copy of a picture Gross took of a nude, pre-pubescent Brooke Shields. Reportedly the suit was settled out of court. A series of enlarged Marlborough advertisements that brought Prince international celebrity in the 1990s—selling for millions of dollars, a price his work now routinely commands—also created consternation among the lesser-known commercial photographers who shot the cowboy-themed pictures. Prince himself, who has said of his work that he’s “practising without a license”, unapologetically problematises issues of authorship. The essay for the show’s catalogue, for instance, was written by James Frey, the controversial author who fabricated whole swathes of his 2003 “memoir”, A Million Little Pieces.”

Richard Prince, Untitled (cowboy), 1989

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