‘I was thinking about one more car. I’d found a ’69 Charger, a kind of sister to the Challenger. The one I’d found had just 9,000 miles on the clock. The tyre size, scribbled in yellow crayon at the assembly line, was still inside the trunk lid. Next to the size was another note, scrawled in the same yellow crayon, probably by the same worker: “Pavement pachyderms reign in the asphalt jungle.” Weird. I looked up “pachyderm” in the dictionary. Odd. It said: “Any thick-skinned, non-ruminant mammal, especially the rhino.”’
Richard Prince, Richard Prince, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, 1988
Richard Prince presented a unique installation intended as simultaneously critical and laudatory of the art of commerce, offering the ultimate vehicle in which to pursue the combined fantasies of upward and lateral mobility. Road to nowhere or stairway to heaven, Prince’s restless invocation of travel is equal parts pulp fiction sculpture and glorified assembly-line product.
Much of Prince’s work draws on automotive culture and American abstraction. Recently, he has begun to re-attach his painted car hoods to the formal structures of the chassis from which they were originally taken. The resulting sculptures speak the language of painting in the form of the car. Prince’s readymade for Frieze Commissions draws this process to its logical conclusion, resulting in a work that challenges our preconceptions about art fairs, and proving that what you see is not necessarily what you get.
Richard Prince (b.1949) is an American artist based in upstate New York, with a host of international exhibitions to his name. Recent solo projects include the major exhibition ‘Richard Prince: Canaries in the Coal Mine’, Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo, Norway (2006). Recent group exhibitions include: ‘In the darkest hour there may be light’, Serpentine Gallery, London; ‘Magritte and Contemporary Art: The Treachery of Images’, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (both 2006) and ‘Faces in the Crowd: Picturing Modern Life from Manet to Today’, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (2005). Prince recently opened his solo retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, New York.