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Art Anecdotes : The Appropriated Art of Richard Prince

Through ART ANECDOTES, Art From Us brings you funny, heart-warming and sometimes heartbreaking stories that shape Artists and their work. Today we look at the story of The Appropriated Art of Richard Prince.

Art From Us and Divvya Nirula bring to you a curated collection of Art related events, from suspected murder, to love affairs, to grand theft and curious cases of creation through ART ANECDOTES. Join us on this fun-filled ride of exploring and reliving these art-tales.

The Appropriated Art of Richard Prince

Between July 12 and August 1, 2015, the Gagosian gallery in London hosted the exhibition New Portraits by Richard Prince. The show immediately attracted massive attention from the media, and the name of the gallery had nothing to do with it.

The show was popular for a different reason. Artist Richard Prince had identified images from the social networking site Instagram, commented on them, and then blown them up on canvas. These canvases were subsequently presented by him as artworks at the exhibition.

People flocked to see the exhibition because Prince was claiming that the works had been done by him, whereas in actuality he simply used other people’s Instagram pictures, without their permission. Most people call it stealing, Prince called it art.

What was further upsetting for the unsuspecting victims of his theft was that some of the works from the series sold for high amounts of money – reaching upto $90,000.

Appropriation or Stealing?

The art world has historically been divided about whether claiming propriety over someone else’s work should be normalised as art. Half the art market gives the practice a fancy tag of ‘appropriated art’, the other just calls it theft. Whatever label you prefer, Richard Prince seems to have made a living and reputation out of it.

New Portraits was not the first series of appropriated art by the Prince, and Prince is not the only artist appropriating other people’s work without crediting them.

Jeff Koons, Sheperd Fairey, Barbara Kruger, Marcel Duchamp and Damien Hirst are just a few more artist’s whose works fall somewhere on the spectrum of appropriated art.

To read more stories visit Art Anecdotes.

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