Richard Prince - Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale New York Wednesday, March 6, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I was in the tear-sheets department. At the end of the day, all I was left with was the advertising images, and it became my subject. Pens, watches, models—it wasn’t your typical subject matter for art.”

    Richard Prince is both a hero and antihero of the photographic image. In 1980 Prince was working in the tear-sheet department of Time/Life and began to formulate a theses and a technique that would eventually make him one of the most recognizable artists of the late twentieth century. Untitled (Massage), 1980 features three separate scenes, each of a woman on the receiving end ofa massage, indicated by a truncated set of hands placed firmly on each woman’s body. The woman in each scene is depicted in a submissive state of pleasure, evidenced by their lack of eye contact with the camera and in their acquiescent posture.

    Whether these states of pleasure are contrived or authentic no one can know for certain, however, there remains something vaguely unsettling about the anonymity of the
    masseuse in the scenes. Untitled (Massage) is also an early example of Prince’s, later famous, highly cinematic style. This work from Prince’s early period contains many of the hallmarks and leitmotifs of his mature style, which, were beginning to take form. The work says as much about the artist’s own fluid and ever-changing relationship with his subject as it does about the formation of his hallowed style.

  • Artist Biography

    Richard Prince

    American • 1947

    For more than three decades, Prince's universally celebrated practice has pursued the subversive strategy of appropriating commonplace imagery and themes – such as photographs of quintessential Western cowboys and "biker chicks," the front covers of nurse romance novellas, and jokes and cartoons – to deconstruct singular notions of authorship, authenticity and identity.

    Starting his career as a member of the Pictures Generation in the 1970s alongside such contemporaries as Cindy Sherman, Robert Longo and Sherrie Levine, Prince is widely acknowledged as having expanded the accepted parameters of art-making with his so-called "re-photography" technique – a revolutionary appropriation strategy of photographing pre-existing images from magazine ads and presenting them as his own. Prince's practice of appropriating familiar subject matter exposes the inner mechanics of desire and power pervading the media and our cultural consciousness at large, particularly as they relate to identity and gender constructs.

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Untitled (Massage)

Ektacolor photograph, triptych
each: 20 X 24 in. (51 x 61 cm)
Signed, dated,and numbered “R. Prince 1980-81 2/10” on the reverse.
This work is numbered two from an edition of ten plus two artist proofs.

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $146,500

Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

7 March 2013
New York