Richard Prince was born August 6, 1949 in the Panama Canal Zone, then a United States territory. Prince relocated to Braintree, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston in 1954. In 1973, after applying to the San Francisco Art Institute without success, he moved to New York where he worked at the Time-Life Building as a preparer of magazine clippings. During this time, he became familiar with Conceptual art and realized the possibility of imagery from mass media, advertising and entertainment.
Although formally trained as painter, it was Prince’s collages that truly commanded the attention of the art world. Deliberately creating an artificial look, Prince re-photographed and juxtaposed found advertising images. As an Appropriation artist, using borrowed elements to create new art, Prince redefined the concept of authorship and ownership.
Applying his understanding of the complex transactions of representation to the making of art, he evolved a unique signature filled with echoes of other signatures yet that is unquestionably his own. An avid collector and perceptive chronicler of American subcultures and vernaculars and their role in the construction of American identity, he has probed the depths of racism, sexism, and psychosis in mainstream humour; the mythical status of cowboys, bikers, customized cars, and celebrities; and most recently, the push-pull allure of pulp fiction and soft porn, producing such unlikely icons as the highly coveted Nurse paintings.
Since his first solo exhibition at Artists Space in New York in 1980, Prince has had shows at numerous museums such as, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany, and the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles. In 2007 The Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York, exhibited a critical overview of the artist’s work entitled, Richard Prince: Spiritual America.
Richard Prince currently lives and works in New York.