Canal Zone: Yes Kate Moss


Can you tell I'm trying to clear out the to-post photos from my desktop? In Februarry Christie's sold an interesting, large Richard Prince Joke painting in London that was made in 2007. The date is significant for reasons that the lengthy catalogue description studiously avoids.

on closer inspection, beneath the dripping paint which adds such texture to the surface of Untitled (Portrait), it becomes clear that the entire background is comprised of images of the supermodel Kate Moss either topless or wearing a bikini top. Untitled (Portrait), then, is a contemporary palimpsest, a conceptual layer cake of imagery which allows Prince to juxtapose a range of seemingly discordant materials in order to play a complex game with the recognisability of celebrities from the art world and indeed the world in general: Pollock, Moss, and of course Prince himself.
The auction house namechecks Pollock, and goes on about Prince's de Kooning paintings, which he'd just completed in 2007. But the action paint-on-tearsheet collage Kate Moss painting is very similar in medium and process to the first work Prince made from Patrick Cariou's Yes Rasta photos.

Canal Zone, 2007, Installation shot at Eden Roc Hotel, St Barth's, late 2007

The piece, actually titled Canal Zone (2007), consisted of a loose grid of 34 or so overpainted pages torn from Prince's copy of Yes Rasta, mounted on a board, and exhibited in a small show at the Eden Roc Hotel in St. Barth's over the Christmas/New Year holiday in 2007. Prince had purchased Cariou's book at a local shop, and then began writing, sketching, and painting in it over the course of his annual visits to St. Barth.

The Kate Moss painting seems to have been made in a nearly identical way, from similar source material--reproductions of highly aestheticized, black & white photography--at about the same time. It's not a stretch to imagine Cariou's photos taken--or at least simulated--by Steven Klein, just more of the same genre Prince is already working with.

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
greg [at] greg [dot ] org

find me on twitter: @gregorg

post info

first published: April 27, 2012.

next older post:
The Chickpea Conspiracy

next newer post:
The Daily Practice Of Painting, c.1915

recent projects, &c.

Our Guernica Cycle, 2017 –
about/kickstarter | exhibit, 2017

Social Medium:
artists writing, 2000-2015
Paper Monument, Oct. 2016
ed. by Jennifer Liese
buy, $28

Madoff Provenance Project in
'Tell Me What I Mean' at
To__Bridges__, The Bronx
11 Sept - Oct 23 2016
show | beginnings

Chop Shop
curated by Magda Sawon
1-7 March 2016

eBay Test Listings
Armory – ABMB 2015
about | proposte monocrome, rose

It Narratives, incl.
Shanzhai Gursky & Destroyed Richter
Franklin Street Works, Stamford
Sept 5 - Nov 9, 2014
about | link

TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -

Standard Operating Procedure
about | buy now, 284pp, $15.99

CZRPYR2: The Illustrated Appendix
Canal Zone Richard Prince
YES RASTA 2:The Appeals Court
Decision, plus the Court's
Complete Illustrated Appendix (2013)
about | buy now, 142pp, $12.99

"Exhibition Space" @ apexart, NYC
Mar 20 - May 8, 2013
about, brochure | installation shots

HELP/LESS Curated by Chris Habib
Printed Matter, NYC
Summer 2012
panel &c.

Destroyed Richter Paintings, 2012-
background | making of
"Richteriana," Postmasters Gallery, NYC

Canal Zone Richard
Selected Court Documents
from Cariou v. Prince (2011)
about | buy now, 376pp, $17.99