In the late ‘70s, Prince worked at Time Life, a job that consisted of clipping editorials for staff writers. It was there he first took the remaining advertisement scraps and began to amass those images within specific themes and re-photograph them. With this apparently simple action, he managed to develop a visual code for desires, fears and stereotypes.
The magazine ads initially took beauty as their main subject and were the promoters of the fashion industry. Prince cleared the imagery of all language and contextual detail; he stripped them down to the core. Cropped with intention and enormously enlarged, they were presented into grainy grisaille, becoming abstract in their simplicity. Still, even with Prince’s thorough interventions, they’ve kept their status as reminders of the guilty aspirations that advertising inflicts on us.
While watching Prince’s works, we cannot quench the thirst for a woman’s soda, help desire another one’s sunglasses or envy yet another for her voluptuous lips. The novelty is that they are for the first time on view in full spread, the whole series consisting of nine works, shoot between ’82 and ’84
The exhibit is an almost historical moment, and if you happen to pass through New York during its unfolding, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to witness so much originality and sheer beauty cohabiting together so harmoniously. Titled ‘Richard Prince: Fashion’, the show is held at the 980 Madison Avenue gallery in New York, on view from March 3rd through April 18th.