Richard Prince - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Thursday, May 18, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Regen Projects, Los Angeles
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1999

  • Exhibited

    Los Angeles, Regen Projects, Richard Prince, December 5, 1998 - January 23, 1999

  • 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 towards both 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 be or was art in the late ʼ70s and ʼ80s. Prince’s oeuvre consistently manifests the artist’s particularly American aesthetic and sense of humor coupled with a keen understanding of the art historical precedent which he sought to upend. 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.

    Going Going Going is a searching composition in two parts – the bottom canvas, painted a relatively uniform white over which the text of the joke has been painted, anchors the composition which is completed by a canvas on which Prince has depicted a wild sort of parallel universe. Caught somewhere between Bosch-ian perversion and a Paul Klee-like landscape scene, Going Going Going is an exercise in Prince’s specific compositional genius. The joke, which reads “I was going/ I was going going to commit suicide by drowning. But I must not have been serious because I brought a beach towel,” is juxtaposed with a composition in which stick figures exist in a perspective-less realm, rendered in almost abstract expressionistic like frenzy, engaging in all sorts of depravity and inanity.

    “The painted, as against the photographic, world of Richard Prince is neither preconceived nor harmonious, linear, stable or continuous. Instead, it is a place of discrepancy and displacement, of contradictions and misunderstandings (much like reality in general). We could even speak of the absurdity of these works, the zone where irreconcilable elements on the pictorial surface initiate the signification. Herein, the spectator is confronted by a confusing and enigmatic frame of reference. Indeed, Prince's figurative paintings are about reconstructing reality, or fabricating parallel realities” (Gunnar B. Kvaran, “Richard Prince, Painter of Fiction”, in Richard Prince: Canaries in the Coal Mine, exh. cat., Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, 2006, p.62).

  • 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.

    View More Works


Going Going Going

signed, titled and dated "RPrince 1998 GOING GOING GOING" on the overlap
acrylic, silkscreen, and crayon on canvas, in 2 parts
79 1/8 x 75 1/4 in. (201 x 191.1 cm.)
Executed in 1998.

$400,000 - 600,000 

Sold for $1,090,000

Contact Specialist
Kate Bryan
Head of Evening Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1267

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 18 May 2017