Richard Prince, "Untitled (same man looking in different directions)," 1977-78. Black and white photographs; 59 5/8 x 29 1/2 inches. © Richard Prince. Courtesy Gladstone Gallery, New York.

Richard Prince, Untitled (same man looking in different directions), 1977-78. Black and white photographs; 59 5/8 x 29 1/2 inches. © Richard Prince. Courtesy Gladstone Gallery, New York.

In the spring of 1979, I occasionally would walk from lower Manhattan (where I lived in a loft) to the New School of Social Research. As a graduate student of Media Studies, my thoughts were often preoccupied with semiotics, Roland Barthes, and media ecology. Perhaps this is why I stopped at the usually book-laden window of Three Lives & Company bookstore at West 10th Street and Waverly Place. An enlarged black and white photograph that appeared to be a advertisement of a hollow cheeked man with a tan in a stilted pose was put on view, but something was amiss. It seemed to sell nothing and had no obvious relationship to the books that were displayed in front of it. I entered the bookstore and asked what was the meaning of the photo and was told it was a work of art by Richard Prince. Soon after, I had a similar experience–one that Roland Barthes would call “pre-hypnotic”–with a photograph above Helene Winer’s desk at Artists Space. When I commented on the work, Helene replied, “Oh, this is our receptionist Cindy’s work. Go tell her you like it.” So I went to introduce myself to Cindy Sherman. “There is someone I think you should meet,” I said.

Carol Ann Klonarides, Curator

 

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