RICHARD PRINCEThe Men behind the Hippie Drawings
“Richard remembers the crowd ad Woodstock, Everywhere you looked
there were people.” an essay by Bill Power
“IT WAS A LITERAL BOOKED FOR THE LIFE OF THE PARTY. NOTED, BUT LARGELY UNNOTICED.THE COMINGS AND GOINGOS OF NOCTURNAL ANIMALS. THE PEOPLE INSIDE THAT ROOM ARE THE PEOPLE INSIDE THESE PAINTINGS.” Richard Prince
| If I stretch my arms and wonder where my fingers are – that is all the space I need as a painter. – Willem de Kooning
In the summer of 2016 a Richard Prince hippie drawing graced the cover of High Times. Richard still isn’t quite sure how the magazine knew to ask him about it. There is a cat- alogue of hippie drawings published by Sadie Coles in 2005, but Richard cancelled that exhibition so most people had only ever seen a hippie drawing in reproduction, a hippie clone. Around the same time – two summers ago – Q-Tip hit Richard up about doing the cover art for We got it from here….thank you 4 your service, the group’s fi- nal album. Again he was asked for a hippie drawing.
The sudden interest caught him off guard.
Somehow hipsters had found the hippies.
Call it deja vodoo.
Maybe it was time to paint the protest again.
I wondered what the late Glenn O’Brien would say about these new Richard Prince paint-
ings. Glenn actually coined the term “editor-at-large” when he worked for High Times years ago. So I re-read the introduction he wrote for The Cool School, a collection of writing from America’s hip underground to which Richard contributed. If you’re hip your eyes are open, all three of them, says Glenn, To be hip is to be an outsider who connects with other outsiders to become insiders of a sort.
|Bells started ringing.
Or perhaps it was the sound of wind chimes.
Either way his words traced back to these paintings
….one microdot at a time.
Now there’s an inherently sad aspect in witnessing an artist’s attempt to recapture the
highlight reel of their glory days. When a painter returns to earlier subject matter the cynic in us has two options: be on the lookout for a money grab or else dismiss that person for having run out of ideas. I imagine Georg Baselitz faced a similar criticism debuting his Remix Paintings. I know Julian Schnabel did for his latest serving of Plate Paintings. It’s not a question of don’t look back.
The art world demands you keep your eyes front and center.
Eyes on the road, motherfucker.
All three of them.
|To read the full interview download MUSE 52|