Richard Prince: Spiritual America

Richard Prince: Spiritual America


Venue: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, New York City
Dates: September 28, 2007–January 9, 2008
Tour: The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

March 23–June 15, 2008

Serpentine Gallery, London
Fall 2008

Overview: This critical overview of Richard Prince’s career is the most comprehensive examination of the celebrated American artist’s work to date. The exhibition highlights Prince’s contributions to the development of contemporary art, bringing together key examples of his photographs, paintings, sculptures, and works on paper in an installation that integrates the various series comprising his oeuvre.

Prince’s work has been among the most innovative art produced in the United States during the past 30 years. His deceptively simple act in 1977 of rephotographing advertising images and presenting them as his own ushered in an entirely new, critical approach to art-making—one that questioned notions of originality and the privileged status of the unique aesthetic object. Prince’s technique involves appropriation; he pilfers freely from the vast image bank of popular culture to create works that simultaneously embrace and critique a quintessentially American sensibility: the Marlboro Man, muscle cars, biker chicks, off-color jokes, gag cartoons, and pulp fiction. While previous examinations of his art have emphasized its central role as a catalyst for postmodernist criticism, the Guggenheim exhibition and its accompanying catalogue also focus on the work’s iconography and how it registers prevalent themes in our social landscape, including a fascination with rebellion, an obsession with fame, and a preoccupation with the tawdry and the illicit.

Organized by Nancy Spector, Chief Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, in close collaboration with the artist, the exhibition brings together key examples from Prince’s numerous series, including early appropriated photographs, as well as photographic series, such as Cowboys, Girlfriends, and Upstates; painted canvases such as Jokes, White Paintings, Check Paintings, and Nurses; and the Hood sculptures. Long interested in the display of his work as part of his overall conceptual practice, Prince has a history of creating special environments for his art. His exhibition at the Guggenheim follows suit, allowing him to present a summation of his achievements to date in an installation that fills the entire Frank Lloyd Wright rotunda and two adjacent galleries, interspersing works of various dates and mediums.

Sponsor: This exhibition is made possible by Deutsche Bank


Barbara Gladstone
The Stephanie and Peter Brant Foundation
Michael Ovitz
Steven and Alexandra Cohen
Larry Gagosian
and those who wish to remain anonymous.

The Leadership Committee for Richard Prince: Spiritual America is gratefully acknowledged.

Additional programs are sponsored by HBO.

Media Partner Thirteen / WNET.

Catalogue: The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, featuring a critical overview by Nancy Spector, and an essay by Jack Bankowsky discussing the artist’s environmental installations, including the Spiritual America Gallery, his First House and Second House, and his Library in Upstate New York. In addition, Glenn O’Brien has conducted a series of interviews with a range of prominent figures in the worlds of design, media, entertainment, and commerce, including Phyllis Diller, Robert Mankoff, J Mays, and Kim Gordon—all initiators of popular culture. The interviews form a composite portrait of the artist’s themes and provide an insider’s view of the formation of mass-cultural taste.

June 4, 2007

Betsy Ennis / Leily Soleimani
Guggenheim Public Affairs
Tel: 212 423 3840

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