Suicide Girls Fight Piracy By Piracy

Xavier in Stories

Richard Prince is an artist, that's what I heard. He's been called a 'hijacker' and a 'thief'.

But his Wikipedia page says that he's an American painter and photographer who is mostly famous for appropriating photographs, or taking something for your own benefit without the owner's permission. He's a professional and has been doing this since 1975. It wasn't until 2005 before one of his works was auctioned for a million dollars. Sweet eh?

Photo by Paddy Johnson
Photo by Paddy Johnson
Photo by Terry Richardson
Photo by Terry Richardson

Just recently he made headlines for taking people's Instagram photos and blowing them up to canvass size, editing a few stuff then adding his own comments (which makes him sound like a prat, by the way), put a $90,000 dollar price tag on it and it's good. There was a total of thirty-eight photos of celebrities, models, public figures and unknown people, which were first displayed at the LA-based Gagosian Gallery last year. It was sold out at the Frieze New York a couple weeks ago at yes, $90k.

COURTESY GAGOSIAN GALLERY. PHOTOGRAPHS BY ROBERT MCKEEVER.
COURTESY GAGOSIAN GALLERY. PHOTOGRAPHS BY ROBERT MCKEEVER.

Some people aren't too surprised of Richard Prince's latest gig. He's been known throughout the art world as (in my words) "the dude who takes people's works". He's that guy who got kinda lucky in court after long years of court battle against another photographer named Patrick Cariou regarding the latter's Jamaican Rastafarian portraits appropriation by Prince. He got off that lightly. Despite his notoriety, Prince still has a long line of people who really admires his work, if you may call it that.

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Instagram art
Instagram art

This is one artist who is obviously not starving for his art.

Suicide Girls Shop
Suicide Girls Shop

Too bad that among the photos he grabbed were from the Instagram of Suicide Girls. And Suicide Girls isn't having any of it.

Courtesy of Suicide Girls
Courtesy of Suicide Girls

SG Founder Missy Suicide writes on her SG profile:

Missy Suicide
Missy Suicide

And finally this is what Missy Suicide  has to say:

"It was a violation. He took from us. Now we're taking from him, too,"

Oh, it's war.

Instagram art
Instagram art

We all know Suicide Girls is pretty hardcore in more ways than one. And we aren't surprised either by their response to Richard Prince. They did it the best way they know how—taking cues from the Prince of Appropriation himself—with plagiarism.

Suicide Girls Shop
Suicide Girls Shop
Suicide Girls Shop
Suicide Girls Shop

Suicide Girls began selling prints of Richard Prince's "works" (all six of the photos Prince took from their Instagram account), priced at $90. Profits will go to Electronic Frontier Foundation, a foundation that fights for digital copyrights. Under Prince's own comments, they also added their own.

Quote
Quote

Missy adds:

"By making these available, we're showing we still have power. We still own our images,"

It's still going to be wrong but seeing as he's also a painter, I would be miles more impressed if he actually painted all these in super-hyperrealism. I mean, we'd be too busy refusing to believe it's oil paint to notice that this is a damn infringement.

As someone who is identified as an 'artist', I can't find the rationale on why I or you should laud him, "because it's art". Putting my foot inside Richard Prince's shoes, I can somehow see why he did this. I can't be certain and these are just my two cents, but he's making a statement. A satirical plagiarism of sorts and ridiculing social media like Instagram. Notice his cryptic and tacky comments below each Instagram photo. Some are comparing him to Andy Warhol, but please don't. Just don't.

But putting yourself in the shoes of the people he took those photos from, it's just so wrong. There isn't much justification for it, either. Despite for whatever reasons he may have justifying his "art", you can just plainly see it as it is: shameless appropriation.

Courtesy of ARTNET
Courtesy of ARTNET

I've seen his paintings and I don't understand why can't he bring out his brushes or whatever medium he uses and get a kick out of re-creating these photos? Satire them? Make fun of the media because in that way, people will hate you just as much, but you're speaking truth. And if you play it right, you're going to win big because of people are suckers for satire.

But he didn't and instead, for many reasons only he knows, he just decided to well, screw it and blow it up and sell it for almost a hundred thousand dollars. That's the point. It's like a big slap to the face of the owners of the photos that their pictures are being called art and sold for a ridiculous amount of money. They would have given them away for free. The subject may be them but the art is focused not on who they are but because of  some clever stunt a man pulled, to make a statement. It's not even the money for the most of it, but rather the shameless exhibiting of their faces.

I'd rather not speak more of the things I don't know about Richard Prince, he has his reasons and his own tastes. But again, I can't find the rationale to be a part of his cheer party either regardless whether he's inviting people over to praise him or not. He's been doing this for years and who knows what goes on in his artist brain. But I'm not a part of those who believes he's a "genius troll".

"Appropriation artists being appropriated is very appropriate,"

-Irina Tarsis, director of the Center for Art Law: "But well, Suicide Girls really played it well."

Xavier

@Xavier

When she's not writing for Tattoodo, Xavier likes experimenting with art and organizing local music shows. We're kidding, she's probably asleep. Follow her on Instagram @claudia_strife

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