DescriptionRichard Prince (b. 1949)
Untitled (Tamara), from the Entertainers series, 1982
98 x 50-1/2 inches (248.9 x 128.3 cm) (overall)
303 Gallery, New York;
Private collection, acquired from the above, 1987.
Richard Prince's Tamara and Fayy (1982) belong to a group of compositions known as the Entertainers series. With a unique aesthetic approach known as rephotography developed in 1977, Prince began deviating from collage art to appropriation. In a Warholian manner, Prince creates compelling stories of the American psyche to shed light on society's obsession with mass produced objects. These works ask the viewer to question if the artist is celebrating popular culture or making a subtle commentary on people's obsession with material commodities and celebrities.
While some appropriation works can be critiqued as unoriginal, Prince emphasizes the importance of authorship and ownership by giving a whole new meaning to the pictures. He creates a fictional world for the viewer by taking a familiar image from popular culture and American consumption and making it the sole object of the viewer's eye. "Rephotography is a technique for stealing (printing) already existing images, simulating rather than copying them, 'managing' rather than quoting them- re-producing their effect and look as naturally as they had been produced when they first appeared. A resemblance more than a reproduction." (Prince, Practicing without a License, 1977). It is through this technique that Prince has continued making his mark in the contemporary realm of visual culture, media and advertising images.
In 1982, Prince created the Entertainers series consisting of photographic portraits of actors and actresses. In these two works, the artist takes the American icons of mainstream media and places them in the foreground. While Tamara and Fayy's faces are the focal point of the works, they remain slightly blurred against the advertisements and the letter "E" apparent in the background. Prince strategically places his subjects this way, narrating how celebrities reside in the spotlight for those promised 15 minutes. These works demonstrate how society's obsession with celebrities is so momentary, their interchangeable faces permeating our cultural environment.
Estimate: $100,000 - $150,000.
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