Ever heard of the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure?”
In today’s society, one man’s Instagram posts is artist Richard Prince’s paycheck, according to CNN.
Prince, a 65-year-old painter and photographer, stirred up controversy when he used blown-up photographs of various users’ Instagram posts in his exhibit at the Frieze Art Fair in New York.
Here’s the kicker: Prince sold nearly each portrait in the “New Portraits” exhibit for $90,000 each.
Many of the photographs in the exhibit are women — ranging from famous artists to porn stars to otherwise unknown women.
Prince, who did not seek any of the users’ permission before publishing and selling the photographs, has found himself in the middle of an internet frenzy.
The photographs were exact replicas of the original, although Prince added a “comment” on each photo under the username RichardPrince1234.
One user, doedeere, said in an Instagram post that her painting sold for $90,000, although she did not give her permission.
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) of my original post. 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 #wannabuyaninstagrampicture
This controversy is nothing new for Prince, who has been appropriating photographs since 1975. In 2012, he went so far as to replace author J.D. Salinger’s name with his own on republished versions of “Catcher in the Rye.”
Prince was sued by French photographer Patrick Cariou in 2008 for rephotographing Cariou’s pictures of a Jamaican community. Prince won on appeal after the court ruled that Prince did not commit copyright infringement because his works were “transformative.”
It seems like Prince is not taking the criticism to heart — he’s just laughing and screenshotting all the way to the bank.
And I wear glasses too. pic.twitter.com/40DSTXEY0Z
— Richard Prince (@RichardPrince4) May 19, 2015