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Richard Prince (b. 1949)
Next Door
signed, titled and dated '"NEXT DOOR" R Prince 2010' (on the overlap)
acrylic and printed paper collage on canvas
60 x 47 ¾ in. (152.4 x 121.3 cm.)
Executed in 2010.
Gagosian Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2010

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Kathryn Widing
Kathryn Widing

Lot Essay

Executed in 2010, Next Door holds its importance in Richard Prince’s mature artistic career when he became more involved with the medium of paint. From a distance, the gestural and colorful brushstrokes make the present work almost abstract, echoing the painterly expanse of paintings by Jackson Pollock and the Abstract Expressionist movement; but upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that the entirety of the background is covered in a collage of Western fiction book covers, prominent in American culture beginning in the late-1960s. Superimposed over these images, stenciled letters stammer across the canvas, creating a tension between the typeface’s serious appearance and the text’s humorous content. 
Prince’s deep-rooted interest in the American cowboy takes new meaning in Next Door, as it is put in direct dialogue with his equally important exploration of appropriation in his Joke painting series. Taking the almost mythical figure of the American cowboy as his starting point, the artist embarks on investigation into the nature of national identity, and the culture that emerged out of other sub-groups and media over the years. By Prince incorporating the foraged book covers that emblazoned the masculine cowboy figure for mass consumption in the 20th century, Next Door not only exhibits how omnipresent and deep-rooted the visual imagery of the American dream of the West was, but how these highly-popularized images can be repurposed and appropriated within the confines of the painted canvas in present day.
In this case, Prince’s regenerated representation is an exploration of the “sameness within difference” that has guided his appropriation art to a different direction from Pop Artist Andy Warhol’s strategy of replication (N. Spector, Richard Prince, exh. cat., Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2007, p. 27).  “With his joke series Prince achieved the anti-masterpiece—an art object that refuses to behave in a museum or market context that privileges the notion of greatness. How, for instance, does one distinguish between the paintings? By color (background vary from ocher to purple)? Or by joke—do you prefer the one about the rabbi, the farmer, the businessman, the drowned husband, or the two-pants suit?” (N. Spector, p. 39). What emerges from these disjunctions is a planned mutation attributed to both his own hand and an appropriation of printed media.

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