Prince’s new rubber band abstractions

Richard Prince’s excellent show at 303 Gallery doesn’t take art history, art theory, or the art world too seriously, but that doesn’t mean he thinks making art is funny. Here’s his enigmatic (and amusing) statement for the show:

Some people see leaves falling from a tree
and see it as, leaves falling from a tree. Others see it as an
inexhaustible mystery of the signified from the mundane closed-off
simulation of a world sign.

The world is intolerably dreary. You escape it by seeing and naming what had heretofore been unspeakable.

Naming the unnamable and hearing it named.

These paintings should be shown to the man from Mars.

Want to free yourself from experience? Don’t pay any attention to it.

You don’t address an audience, you create an audience.

The best images have sensations of
unreality, illimitable vastness, brilliant light, and the gloss and
smoothness of material things.

A joke is a reaction to the main event of any culture. It recovers the integral person.

These paintings could have been played at CBGB’s.

I like consenting to be part of a dynamic
mechanism in an artificially contrived situation. In other words, I like
to play the game.

The higher you climb, the more I see of your ass.

Texture instead of semantic meanings.

Normality as a special effect might be another from of hysteria.

These paintings are like an unrecognized dinosaur… a beautifully feathered tyrant.

Richard Prince, Untitled, 2011, rubber band, staples and acrylic on paper, 25 x 22 7/8 inches (framed). Images courtesy 303 Gallery.
Richard Prince, Untitled, 2011, rubber band, staples and acrylic on mounted newsprint
25 x 22 7/8 inches (framed)
Richard Prince, Untitled, 2011, rubber band, staples and acrylic on paper
4 panels: 26 3/8 x 20 7/8 inches (each framed)

In the NYTimes today Roberta Smith gives the show a thumbs up, too:

On first sight each appears to feature a single irregular polygonal
shape outlined in black on a brushy white ground….Closer examination reveals them to be black rubber bands, stapled at
each point of the shape onto the surface, which is usually newsprint and
contributes to the white�s patchiness….But they also extend the Modernist love of humble materials, precise yet
nonchalant methods and the setting of limits, whose precedents include
the relaxed geometries of Richard Tuttle and Mel Bochner as well as
Jasper Johns�s careful use of newsprint. How much art can still be eked
out of black rubber bands, white paint and the daily papers? If
attention is paid, more than enough.

“Richard Prince: 14 Paintings,” 303 Gallery, Chelsea, New York, NY. Through June 22, 2012.


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  1. They're sort of like Prince's career. A joke but a relevant joke. I like these.

  2. Prince's joke is actually a very old one, and the original is much better: Sigmar Polke did similar work with rubber bands in 1970, lampooning Durer's famous "Hare"

  3. Wow, doesn't take much to excite y'all.

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