The selfie taken by Richard Prince from Doe Deere's Instagram

The Business of Art – Being a Slime-ball

So as you may or may not remember, almost a year ago people got upset over the artist Richard Prince “appropriating” other people’s artwork by adding nonsensical comments to them… and then charging 5 to 6 figures for the pieces.

Well, the issue is back and just as stupid as before.

Richard Prince – A Slime-ball or Thoughtful Artist?


It seems Richard Prince is now being sued by the photographer Donald Graham… for appropriating Graham’s photograph from a person who had supposedly posted his work onto instagram without Graham’s permission.

So according to the complaint …

Graham takes photos   –>  photos posted by somebody on instagram without permission  –> Prince then appropriates that specific instagram post  –>  Graham now sues Prince


Okay we are now caught up with the bullsquirt.

I mean, it really doesn’t go beyond that. If you know Richard Prince you know this is the standard argument and standard course of events.

Richard Prince takes what he wants from others and profits heavily from it… that makes people upset because it seems to them like Richard Prince is not an artist and does absolutely nothing. As I mentioned previously…

I believe people are really feeling that Richard Prince’s art is abusive, not that it is not art.

What you see when you look at Richard Prince’s art is other people’s art. Not purely his work, but other people’s. People who you know have not been compensated for their original creations. You see that his “transformation” of their original art really isn’t much of a transformation. You see him bagging massive amounts of money (reportedly $90,000 just for that portrait). You want to say it isn’t art because it is so difficult to express just how dissatisfied you are with Richard Prince and his works. It is art. It just isn’t very good art and that just pisses you off.

And a year later nothing has changed.

I don’t think this is really news and I don’t think anybody’s attitude has changed. The arguments are all still the same.

So whatever. Moving on.


A Brief Note on Business – The Business of Being a Slime-ball


As a business model, Richard Prince’s method seems to be working out well for him.

He takes other people’s original creations, adds something that requires little to no effort to that persons art, and then sells it as his own.

So his input costs are near zero (since he doesn’t license the art and his time isn’t very valuable nor is much used up I’m guessing) while his sales price per piece is in the 5 to 6 figure range.

Meaning his return on investment is astronomical.

From a pure business perspective, this is all brilliant.

Now there’s more to business than economics… there’s the relationship with your customer (which can be damaged by your poor moral fiber) and then there’s the morality of everybody inside of a business and oh don’t forget that art and economics don’t play well together to begin with !!!  My point is there’s a lot going on beyond economics which can easily turn Richard Prince’s business model from a brilliant one into a super crappy one.

Think twice before trying to emulate Richard Prince’s ‘appropriation’ business model.


Read More about Richard Prince below…



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The Business of Art – Being a Slime-ball (Richard Prince) by Jordan Wunderlich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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