Have you guys heard about Richard Prince? No? Okay, well, Richard Prince is an artist that i known to appropriate other people’s art into his own. His most recent exhibition features a series of Instagram pictures (that are not his), which he is selling for… A LOT OF MONEY. Apparently, some of the pieces were sold at something like $100,000. The pictures are currently exposed at the Frieze Gallery in New York.
Frankly, we all have mixed feelings about this. We gotta admit that the Internet is currently one of the best places to display your work when you want to get known. At the same time, we are all aware that it is not safe because people ALL OVER THE WORLD can just take your work, inspire themselves, and re-appropriate it. Not to mention that they can even make money selling the pieces you worked so hard for and imagined yourself.
This mixed feeling you get when it comes to artists stealing other people’s art is normal. It comes with the territory, and anyone who isn’t prepared for it needs to catch up with our generation’s ideologies. Let’s separate the good from the bad in order for you to better understand this state of mind:
Well, stealing is stealing. I just can’t understand why it’s okay to take Instagram pictures, screenshot them, print them and sell them without the permission of the account owners. Nobody should be allowed to make money off of other people’s art. For example, if you a musical artist and you decide to use samples of an other song in your joint, you gotta pay rights. When you walk through Canal St. and then there’s a bunch of shady looking people whispering to you “Fendi, Gucci, Versace bags, not expensive, come see. ” Well, there’s a reason why they can’t just display their ” not expensive Fendi, Gucci, Versace bags ” on Canal St. stores… CUZ THEY’RE FAKE and it’s not legal to sell reproduction of these brands. The brand is a name, you cannot take a name, make it yours and make money off of it.
Looking at the frames, I wonder if Prince really wanted to display the pictures or the whole IG screenshot as a piece, with the comments and the likes. Arts often represent the era we are from so it is inevitable to think that his idea is not necessarily a bad way to represent today’s generation. If you take a look at the exhibition as a whole, you’d realize that his intentions might’ve been solely about the idea of how art is portrayed nowadays, and not the idea of stealing other people’s art. It is also a great way to get eyes on other people’s work. All the artists/photographers/models that are displayed in these shots get a chance of reaching more followers just because they are displayed in public. Richard Prince is selling the shots 100K a piece, but maybe you should look at the bigger picture and realize that fame always comes at a price.
Pick your poison.
Do you have good or bad feelings about this? And who do you think is to blame ? The guy that steals the art or the ones who buy the art that is stolen?