RICHARD PRINCE "UNTITLED (LABEL)" 1977

$7,500

Richard Prince (b. 1949) is one of the most innovative and influential American artists. Whether you associate him with The Pictures Generation, postmodernism, or appropriation art, his contribution is undeniable.  

Prince has worked in a variety of formats, yet each of his series shares a similar approach: extract an element from the American visual culture, elevate and expose it. 

Whether the source image is from a cover of a pulp fiction novel, macho Cowboys in Marlboro ads, or supermodel selfies from social media, Prince subverts the vernacular of pop culture imagery. 

In the mid-1970s Richard Prince was working for Life Inc. in the tear-sheet department where he clipped articles from magazines. What remained from these deconstructed magazines were advertisements featuring products and people designed to influence American shoppers. 

In 1977 Prince established a new, innovative approach to photography, which he would later dub "rephotography". In this method, he removed all surrounding text that would contextualize the image as an ad. As photography was still considered a commercial medium in this era, Prince both subverted and celebrated this bias. 

Ultimately, Prince's portrayals were a copy (his photograph) of a copy (the advertisement) of a myth. While rephotographing, Prince used blurring, enlarging, and cropping to enhance the images' artificiality or aesthetic merits.  

“Untitled (Label)” reinforces and critiques the imagery used in this luxury advertisement (for a fancy liquor). Prince confronts questions of mass consumerism, reality vs. fiction in advertising, and the design aesthetics of promoting alcohol. "

Prince provocatively points to both the artifice and artistry of this image appropriating it. The gold bars seem real, while the matching logo seems to hover magically. The advertising motif is fetishized while also exposing the cultural mechanisms and absurdity behind the promoted myth of this liquor. 

As for the beverage itself, "VO", which stands for "Very Own", is the name of a Canadian whisky created by Seagrams in 1912. 

This work was included in a 1993 portfolio by October Magazine alongside works by Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons, and more.

Questions about this piece? Contact us or call 1.416.704.1720

"Untitled" ("Label") 

USA, 1977

Ektacolor photograph

Signed, numbered and dated 

Edition of 30

9"H 13.25"W (work)

17'H 20.5"W (framed)

Excellent Condition.

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