I've been enjoying Richard Prince's latest sculpture a lot: It is made of paper, glue and ink. It looks like a book, it also reads like a book, a real good book, "the Catcher in the Rye" by JD Salinger. In fact, it looks a lot like a copy of the second edition of "the Catcher in the Rye", except it has Richard Prince's name on it instead of Salinger, and it lists other books by Richard Prince on the inside. The 1951 first edition of "the Catcher in the Rye" has a photograph of JD Salinger on the back of the dustcover, and this pissed Salinger off in a mighty way, as he didn't like phoniness, so it was replaced by a nothing on subsequent editions. The 2011 Richard Prince first edition has replaced the kit and caboodle with a big phony nothing that states that the book (sculpture!) is a work of art, even if it looks pretty much like the real thing, and that brings me to the conclusion that this is the book of the year as "the Catcher in the Rye" sells hundreds of thousands of copies each year and Richard Prince’s artworks sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Every age gets the Duchamp it deserves, and we have one that just made us his own readymade. It is a book. It is a sculpture. Book! Sculpture! Readymade! Fraud! Art! Book! Sculpture!
The rapture has come to pass, and we are the ones left behind. All that was good in the world has left and gone to heaven, so we are now surrounded by artwork, music, films, books and sculptures that are Post-Good. Post-Good artists make Post-Good art, Post-Good authors write Post-Good books, and Post-Good magazines publish Post-Good writers etc. Richard Prince is Post-Good, as notions of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ have exactly nothing to do with his work. Any of his work.
His early work is embryonically Post-Good (it still incorporates elements of good), his most well-known recent appropriation artworks found hanging on the walls of major museums are milestones of Post-Good, since his work has matured and no longer shows any traces of good. The influx of bad that could be found in some of his early work can also that no longer be clearly discerned, which the critics and dealers and museum curators and wealthy art patrons all seem to have noted. The reader could find it half-interesting if I mention that Richard Prince’s recent book of Post-Good essays is currently setting the pace for other artists, writers and critics who work in the Post-Good field.
I am hoping that Richard Prince's sculpture (that looks like a book) was sculpted (printed) to piss off Deborah Batts, a judge who recently ruled that Richard Prince was a biter for biting some portrait photographs of Rastafarians by a marginal photographer, and then using them as the basis for some of his collages that his gallerist Larry Gagousian sold for some of those hundreds of thousands of dollars a couple of years ago.
Deborah Batts is a Post-Good judge, and her ruling in the case of Richard Prince verses the photographer of Rastafarians show Post-Intelligent insight into how freedom of expression works in fine art of the Post-Good era. Deborah Batts made it clear during the actual court proceedings that she didn’t “like” Richard Prince’s “art” which truly is a Post-Intelligent yardstick for the relationship between court, copyright and artist. The very same judge ruled against an unauthorized sequel to “the Catcher in the Rye” a couple of years ago, and that ruling in turn shows how able Deborah Batts also is thinking Post-Intelligently on matters of freedom of speech. In 2009, Deborah Batts slapped some poor Swedish author silly who had written a book commenting on Salinger and his relationship to “the Catcher in the Rye” through a narrative that imagined an aged Holden Caulfield as lonely and sad and Salinger as trapped by his own legend. According to Deborah Batts, the Swedish author was a phony telling this kind of story was infringing on the right of the author, and was an attempt to make hundreds of thousands on the JD Salinger legacy. For chrissake.
In a day and age where appropriating images, referencing famous works and biting big chunks from those days prior to the rapture when things could still be good instead of Post-Good, our freedoms need to be fought for more than ever. God bless Richard Prince, the best Post-Good artist working today.