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    Prince of Thieves.

    Contentious for appropriating others’ work, Richard Prince’s ‘re-photographs’ stir up debate about the nature of art. His fashion re-photographs are, as with much of his work, a commentary on American culture.   

    The question of what constitutes art has plagued artists for millennia. Is fashion photography ‘art’? Is a painted black square artistic? Where is the beauty in a shark frozen in formaldehyde? One artist whose work has remained controversial over the span of his career is Richard Prince. He is best known for his photographs of photographs – for instance ‘The Cowboy’, a photograph of Sam Abell’s  photograph used in a Marlboro ad campaign, and an image of child star Brooke Shields originally snapped by Garry Gross.

    His works include sculpture – the reappropriation of car parts and furniture, for example. There are also photographic collections, sketches and Jokes, which retell popular jokes. His fashion shots are ad campaigns re-photographed from magazines, cropped and presented in this new context, with, in Prince’s words: ““ . . . a whole new history without the old one.”