A controversial artist is making money by selling canvases that feature other people’s Instagram photos and apparently it’s totally legal.
Unsurprisingly, this latest exhibition by Richard Prince has caused a bit of a stir, especially with those people whose images have been nicked.
The exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery in New York was initially a private showing but it soon became public for obvious reasons.
The New York Post reported:
Prince’s 48-inch by 56-inch″ inkjet prints from celebs’ social media feeds — with his comments underneath that are sometimes just emojis — have been on display for VIPs in a private area at the Madison Avenue space.
A spy who saw the works said pics of Pam Anderson and Kate Moss are included and selling for up to $100,000.
Figured I might as well post this since everyone is texting me. Yes, my portrait is currently displayed at the Frieze Gallery in NYC. Yes, it's just a screenshot (not a painting). No, I did not give my permission and yes, the controversial artist Richard Prince put it up anyway. It's already sold ($90K I've been told) during the VIP preview. No, I'm not gonna go after him. And nope, I have no idea who ended up with it! 😳 #lifeisstrange #modernart #wannabuyaninstagrampictureAdvertisement
Not all the images are of celebrities though. One subject of the photos – Doe Deere, CEO of Lime Crime – shared a photo taken at the gallery and confirmed she was not asked permission for use of her image.
And, although Deere says she doesn’t intend to sue the artist, under U.S law she might not even win a court case if she tried.
This isn’t Prince’s first time selling artwork like this. He’s actually allowed to do it under fair use and utilises the images under a practice called “retrophotographing”. By adding slight changes to these images (ie. his own comments underneath each photo) he is able to make the works meet the requirements of “fair use”.
And since Prince can earn around $100,000 (£64,000) a pop for each piece of work, he’s laughing all the way to the bank!