Richard Prince’s 2015 exhibition, New Portraits, at the Gagosian Gallery has far from impressed renowned photographer, Donald Graham.
The show featured images taken from Instagram posts that were blown up and slightly modified. It was literally like a giant wall of Instagram feed, with the original person’s thumbnail that posted the image included and comments that Prince, himself, added. One image that was featured happened to be Graham’s, Rastafarian Smoking a Joint, which has been under strict copyright laws since 1997. Graham was furious that his work was not appropriated correctly and took to Instagram saying, “Appropriated Exhibit. The only way you’d know my work was a part of this display is…well, that’s just it, you wouldn’t know. #PrinceofAppropriation.”
He claims that the only modification made to his original image was ‘minor cropping of the bottom and top’, which seems to be less of an appropriation and more of a direct copy and paste.
Graham has sued the Gallery and Prince for copyright charges. None with which are a first for the artists who has previously been charged with the same thing. Despite this, we don’t think it’ll stop him from continuing to copy other artists work as he was quoted saying, “copyright has never interested me… I knew what I was stealing 30 years ago but it didn’t matter because no one cared.”
- Words: Mikaela Ortolan