Richard Prince began in the 1980s to explore the relationship between image and language, pairing jokes from books and magazine. His early Joke paintings transformed from monochromatic rigidly composed works into free-floating combinations of jokes and stripped-down layered imagery. I understand your husband... displays how Prince fused together drawings with text or a punch line. The jokes are annexed by Prince, who collects pulp fiction paperback novels, novelty magazines, and other consumer images. Prince studied joke telling books and became intrigued by the jokes that were most familiar and repeatedly retold. Prince deliberately arranged the image as rectangular rather than square in format, referencing the print media where these jokes originated.
I understand your husband... is as minimal, mechanical, and blunt as his early re-photography. Although Prince uses a different medium, he continues to question many of the fundamental assumptions of modern art. The silk-screening process emphasizes anonymity by removing the human touch from the work. Brushstrokes are almost entirely absent from the canvas, which draws a close connection to the reproduction techniques of Pop art. The underlying tension to each of these jokes seems dated to 1950s middle class America. Prince's jokes explore forces of sexual identity and social acceptance revealing a dark underpinning. Prince was concerned with our fascination and acceptance of the image of advertisements.