Known as a painter of nurses and photographer of Marlboro men, appropriation artist Richard Prince has been quietly creating an arts retreat deep in the Catskills, a few hours drive from New York City. As the Wall Street Journal wrote about this week, Prince is preparing to open the estate to the public. Large works, like the car above or others coated in image screens from his ‘Girlfriends’ series or the installation of framed rubber below, are scattered throughout the property along with works in progress. For me, though, Prince’s library would be the treasure trove. The artist is also a prodigious book collector, especially of the 20th century, and he has rows upon rows of bookshelves in white-shelved studio library. Moreover, book-collecting has inspired his work, so that covers of pulp fiction turned into his successful Nurses series of paintings. I’d drive the 200-miles to see it.
“Take them, please!” is part of the message from the above cartoon, part of a larger series seen at ArtMarket Budapest (sorry, I’m not sure whose work it is). And the relationship to the the Soviet-era tin cans that passed (and pass) for transportation is an ambivalent one of fondness and frustration. Perhaps that’s why they keep being thrown up, whole and entire, as contemporary sculptural pieces.
These aren’t John Chamberlain’s crushed car part sculptures. Rather they preserve and put the entirety of the Socialist-era cars, known for their poor design, safety, and performance, on view in a way that seems to present then as beloved cultural objects as much as anything else. Czech artist David Černý had some fun with it with his sculpture ‘Quo vadis.’
David Czerny, Quo Vadis
Perhaps this Trabant, a car driven here in Hungary but also in the Czech Republic, runs better on legs.