Girlfriend by Richard Prince

This 1993 article / interview from Art in America about Richard Prince’s use of images of women deals with some important issues, including perception, appropriation, and feminism.

BW: You’re talking about the humor of the jokes, but a lot of them are incredibly hostile as well.

RP: Yeah. The comedians that I’ve met are certainly not the happiest people in the world. But that’s not really what I’m about, this kind of hostility or anger or tragedy. l’m mostly thinking in a very boring way. It’s really about going into the studio every day and working, so many of my concerns are really formal, straight-out, boring problem solving.

BW: I guess what I’m leading up to is that a lot of women think that your anger is directed at women.

RP: I like women. I have no problem with women. I’ve heard this and it upsets me to a point, but actually I think it’s a rumor. I know lots of women who like my work and understand it. I think that’s a generalization. There’s nothing directed against women.

BW: Maybe you could talk about another series that enraged a lot of women: the so-called biker chicks.

RP: Well, as far as the biker chicks are concerned, I just wouldn’t mind being one. I’ve never said that before, but I think that’s what I really feel. There’s a certain kind of desire and a certain amount of passion. I like what I think they look like, or perhaps what they are. I think many of these pictures have their own egos and they have an imagination of their own. That’s my own particular reaction. I also think the biker chick is perhaps a more realistic representation than the Grace Kelly girl-next-door. I mean, the biker chicks are the girls next door. The title of the series, “Girlfriends,” is a nonfiction title; those girls are girlfriends. The pictures are taken by their boyfriends and published in a magazine. It’s not like a cult or anything. There are four or five of these large-scale, mass-market publications. Maybe I like women like that.