Richard Prince - 20th Century & Contemporary Art New York Tuesday, July 18, 2023 | Phillips
  • “I don't see any difference now between what I collect and what I make.”
    —Richard Prince

    In Untitled (original) Richard Prince expands upon his signature practice of “re-photography” by pairing an original painted illustration with the resultant paperback book. Part of the artist’s series of the same name, Untitled (original) draws attention to the subtle shifts undergone by the image as it is translated into a book cover. The present example humorously utilizes the cover art for the 1969 adult novel Here’s Your O.R.G.Y.!, which comes from a series centering on an investigator named Steve Victor who works for the fictional Organization for the Rational Guidance of Youth (O.R.G.Y.). The shrink-wrapped book is paired with the original illustration by Stanley Borack, a prolific illustrator who created images for paperback covers and men’s magazines, in an astute investigation of the relationship between image and text. Embracing readymade images, Prince breathes new life into the illustration and forgotten pulp fiction novel by revealing the handmade “original” behind the mass-reproduced novel.

    • Provenance

      Gagosian Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • 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 (original)

original illustration and paperback book in shrink wrap, in artist's frame
36 x 35 in. (91.4 x 88.9 cm)
Executed in 2011.

Full Cataloguing

$60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for $107,950

Contact Specialist

Nina Piro
Specialist, Associate Vice President

20th Century & Contemporary Art

New York Auction 18 July 2023