Would you pay $90,000 for a six foot high Instagram screenshot? While that may be a little over budget for most Americans, collectors around the world are snapping up the controversial new works by notable photographer Richard Prince.
Prince's new collection was created entirely from photos he found on the popular social media app, Instagram. The large portraits are primarily pictures of women, many in sexually charged poses.
Prince enlarged screenshots he took of social media posts to 6-foot-tall inkjet prints. He then put his own unique comments underneath each post.
The works have been displayed at New York City's prestigious Gagosian Gallery since October, and were showcased last month at the Frieze Art Fair in New York.
"I don't have issue with that that's its appropriation or the price. I have issue with the fact that it's bad,” stated art critic, Paddy Johnson.
Johnson thinks the reason for the price drop is simple, "What does it tell us about the world? Nothing. What does it tell us about Instagram? Nothing. What does it tell us about the pictures? Nothing. So those three nothing's make for a zero."
Yet others would disagree. The works are highly controversial because Prince has paid absolutely nothing to the original posters of the photos and users feel violated that their pictures will now hang in someone's house. A number of his 'subjects' have spoke out against his use of their pictures.
Prince's art highlights just how privacy invading social networks are. If you post things to the world, as nearly all Americans do, you lose ownership of them plain and simple. This is due to both the public nature of social media sites like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, as well as the privacy policies in which these sites operate.
The basic takeaway is that if you own something, keep it far away from social media or risk your claim to ownership.
Richard Prince has been testing this controversial issue since the 1970s, when he started taking pictures of photos found in magazines or advertisements, and then altering them in various ways.
In 2008, he was taken to court for his use of pictures but, after a lengthy trial and appeals process, a judge ruled that Prince had not committed copyright infringement because his works were "transformative."