120. Richard Prince "Untitled (joke)", detail.
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Viewing April 4th–8th at Berzelii Park 1 in Stockholm
Open: Mon–Fri 11AM–6PM, Sat–Sun 11AM–5PM
Sale: April 9th, start 3PM. Arsenalsgatan 2 in Stockholm
Richard Prince is considered to be one of the most well-respected artists of his generation. He was born in 1949 and made his breakthrough in the early 1980s alongside artists such as Cindy Sherman and Barbara Kruger. Together their “appropriation art” helped to develop the American (and international) art scene. He is known around the world for his photographs and his paintings.
Richard Prince studied painting, and it was this medium that opened the door to his artistic career. However, it soon became clear that what interested Prince was the theme, not the medium or the technique.
The late 1960s saw the explosion of what we today call the 'image society', in which we still live. The sixties were the first golden age of mass media, and while some artists turned their backs on representational art and devoted themselves to metaphysical abstraction (Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler, Mark Rothko) others sought a more effective tool. One artist who was interested in the mass media image at an early stage was, of course, Andy Warhol. However, while he was focused on its aesthetics and iconisation, Prince went in search of the human mechanisms behind these libidinous mass media and commercial images.
‘Untitled (joke)’, with a monochrome background and a joke written in a different color, is one in a series of silkscreen canvas paintings Prince produced. He began the ‘Joke series’ in 1986 and the combination of painting with burlesque humor is a clear signature of his. The jokes often involve the taboos and frustrations of the white American middle class.
Like all intelligent and perceptive art, Richard Prince’s work deciphers the state of things. If we pause for a moment to consider this, it is a mental state in which we constantly find ourselves: between a sense of lack on the one hand and on the other a strategy for attaining the goal/satisfaction – a new car, a new hair color, love, attraction, muscles, independence. We are not dealing with harmless forces here. In Richard Prince’s case there is something else that makes him more than just perceptive and intelligent. The unexpected.