RICHARD PRINCE "BOMB JOKE", 1989

Richard Prince (b. 1949) is one of the most innovative, influential and polemic American artists. Whether you associate him with The Pictures Generation, post-modernism or Appropriation Art, his contribution (and subversive humor) is undeniable. He lives and works in upstate New York.

Prince has worked in a variety of formats over the course of his career, yet each of his iconic and provocative series shares a similar approach:  Prince’s jokes tap into social preoccupations of the national subconscious. At his best, he extracts elements from the American vernacular culture and positions it in a way similar to Duchamp's urinal. 

Prince started to work with jokes in 1986. These works were a bold contradiction to the reigning hierarchies in the art world perpetuated by Minimalism or Neo-Expressionist painting. 

This early example from 1989 features a joke handwritten by the artist. The simple joke seems to concern his sexual frustrations and is relying on a punch line: "You know I just don't have the incentive to buy a two pants suit".

The simple, or anti-aesthetic seems to be simultaneously parodying tropes established by Conceptual and Minimalist artists of the previous decade.

Note: the artwork was included in a limited edition book, "Inside World", that coincided with an exhibition of Prince's work at the Kent Gallery. 

Questions about this piece? Contact us or call 416.704.1820

"Bomb Joke", 1989

Ink on paper (handwritten multiple)

Signed by the artist

12"H 8"W  (work)

Very good condition

Detailed condition report by request

Literature: Jonathan Lethem, Richard Prince: Collected Writings, 2011.

Provenance: Pat Hearn Gallery, NYC

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