Richard Prince - Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale New York Thursday, March 6, 2014 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York
    Sotheby’s, New York, Contemporary Art Part I, May 15, 2001, lot 69
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    “…when you’re making a work of art or you’re looking at a work of art, it’s this thing about lives. People’s lives. My life, your life. My friend’s life. The lives of people I don’t know and the lives of dead people. You know you’re looking at something…done with a certain kind of energy that is essentially positive.” - Richard Prince

    Combining a sardonic wit with a sharp eye both towards contemporary culture and satire, Richard Prince has established himself as the preeminent pictorial commentator of the 20th and 21st centuries. His appropriation of found imagery, reconstituted and realigned, served to readjust the concept of what could or was art in the late ʼ70s and ʼ80s. By 1995, and the execution of My boyfriend married a girl, Prince was already firmly ensconced as the art world’s critical enfant terrible. His ability to confound the viewer by distorting both the source material and his own artistic position disallows a strictly superficial reading of the work. Despite the seeming literalness of his oeuvre, his own persona and the space of ambivalence and ambiguity that his paintings occupy espouse a surfeit of different understandings and angles.

    The present work is an intricate example of a series Prince executed during the ʼ90s, blending his jokes with a more expressionistic style of painting and printing. The text in the painting is truncated from a joke which recurs repeatedly and ends, “who’s bisexual. Claims he’s going to change her. He did three years later she’s a lesbian.” Instead of posing the text on a monochrome background, however, and by truncating it to only its opening line, Prince has perverted the viewer’s expectations. No longer is it an immediately understandable joke, nor an immediately recognizable Prince painting; the work now functions as a twisted inside-art world joke to which we are all now privy.

  • 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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My boyfriend married a girl

silkscreen and acrylic on canvas and graphite
58 x 75 in. (147.3 x 190.5 cm.)
Titled "my boyfriend married a girl" at center left.

$250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for $293,000

Contact Specialist
Zach Miner, Contemporary
Head of Sale
+1 212 940 1256

Alex Heminway, Design
+ 1 212 940 1268

Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

New York Evening Sale 6 March 2014 7pm