Richard Prince’s latest exhibit at Gagosian all started with the “dead” heads, drawn with a Bic pen in 1972. Prince drew these works from the heart, inspired with a “virtuoso real.” When asked about these formerly-made drawings, Prince states, “They were probably the first things I did that ever had any soul.”
The exhibit, entitled Richard Prince: High Times, exposes the viewer to appropriation art, a genre of art underscoring the importance of originality. The paintings exhibit what seems like an untrained hand and action painting, where a viewer can see how an artist applies medium to the work. Each work shows factors of child-like drawings, evoking a sense of the past as well as Prince’s playfulness.
Each figure drawn resembles a type of doodle, making the works sound more trivial than they actually are. In fact, each work was executed with mixed-media and his ideals of authenticity and enjoyment. Every installation calls on Prince’s youth and returning back to an artistic method he abandoned when appropriating Instagram posts in a past, rather controversial exhibition.
The title of the exhibit, High Times, stems from his early Hippie Drawings, which were based on what he thought hippies represented. Drawn with the trivial medium that is Crayola, Prince featured hippie forms on paper, again evoking a type of child-like drawing.
Surrounding the drawings are installations rather large in scale. With the anatomy emphasized with bold, brash use of color and stark outlines, each figure in Prince’s works do not only focus on natural anatomy, but how one’s figure can be distorted and understood according to the viewer’s own eye. Each viewer is challenged visually and each work is open to any type of interpretation.
Using this exhibit as a way to return to his intuitive, artistic inspiration, Prince states how, “It was time. It was time to go back, remind…circle back to the ‘dead’ heads and do something I was born to do.”
Richard Prince: High Times is on view at Gagosian through December 15.