When I offhandedly declared a jpg of Richard Prince's 2003 rephoto, Untitled, (Cowboy) to be my own work a year ago, I had no idea it would ever leave my blog post.
As an idea, appropriating an appropriation might be funny/interesting for about 30 seconds. Or it might be a useful provocation for a discussion about fair use, and the unacknowledged constraints it places on our cultural dialogue and production.
Untitled (300 x 404) may look like a jpeg of Richard Prince's Untitled (Cowboy), but it turns out to look nothing like Prince's actual, 30x40 inch work. [Which, itself is actually an enlarged photo of Sam Abell's Marlboro Man ad from a magazine.]
And that's something I only began to realize when I started looking around for the best way to print this jpg file in real life. Obviously, it can be reproduced infinitely online--here, have one! But printing it without dramatically altering the original data turned out to be a challenge.
So when Jen Bekman and I started talking about publishing an edition with 20x200, my first question was for their printer. Since they knew their printer was awesome and could pull it off, their first question was for their lawyer.
But as soon as we saw the proofs come in in various sizes, with the pixels rendered in velvety, matte inkjet pigments on that heavy paper, it was obvious that this piece really needed to be published, and it needed to be done by 20x200.
I have no claim on the image, or the idea, or the technical skill of making them, and yet I feel incredibly proud of these prints, which are these beautiful, physical things.
As I figure out how best to photograph them, I'll post some image of the prints themselves over the next little while. But it might be tough. They're really the kind of thing you want to see in real life.