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Richard Prince: Old selfies are 'New Paintings'

Instagram pics are "stolen," blown up and exhibited in a gallery for Richard Prince's heavily ironic "New Paintings."

New Paintings Richard Prince Although Richard Prince does an amazing job of making art seem less boring, the unwieldy caption we're legally required to run has the opposite effect: © Richard Prince. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photography by Robert McKeever.

Appropriation artist Richard Prince is back at his controversial antics again with a series of “New Paintings." Well, they're “paintings” in that they're ink-jet prints, and they're “new” in that these are Instagram photos taken by other people. If the sheer absurdity of seeing the best selfies of everyone’s favorite social-media app in an art gallery is not enough, here are three other reason you cannot miss “New Paintings.”

For the rousing debate of Contemporary Art


These paintings are not strictly a product of Prince’s artistic genius. The "New Paintings" are not even painted by the artist himself, but are inkjet prints created from Instagram screenshots. Is this art or is this copyright infringement? Prince is not new to legal controversy — he was sued in 2013 by photographer Patrick Cariou, who claimed Prince unrightfully appropriated his art. Prince came out of court victorious, which only added to his work’s caustic mystique.

For bringing voyeurism from website to art gallery


Scrolling through an app filled with brunch pics and self-portraits is nothing more than another commute to work. But seeing shameless selfies of half-nude Instagram stars in an art gallery is a perfect parody of pop-culture. Party portraits of tattoo-clad women and Kate Moss seductively splayed out on a motorcycle are captured for posterity in gallery-sized proportions.

For the utter excitement of seeing someone you follow


Following just friends would demote Instagram to another Facebook. Part of the app’s fun is sneaking a peek at the extraordinary lifestyles of the rich and Internet famous. I followed three users depicted in the show: China Chow, an actress and model, Sky Ferreira, the starlet of indie rock, and Richard Prince himself — whose Instagram pic was, fittingly, a photo of someone else he did not even take. Coming from someone with abysmal Instagram stats, seeing the 903 likes karleyslutever (writer Karley Sciortino) received for her provocative snap unabashedly showcasing her necklace is shocking, and yet very indicative of our Internet culture.

If you go


Richard Prince's 'New Paintings'
Through Oct. 25
Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Gagosian Gallery
976 Madison Ave.
212-744-2313
www.gagosian.com

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