Richard Prince Steals Your Instagram

NEW YORK CITY -- Richard Prince has been raiding the Instagram accounts of rich and famous women for his series of "New Portraits".

Celebrities, models, and other individuals of visual note, comprise the current show at Gagosian Gallery's Madison Avenue spaces.

Along with a similar exhibition at Frieze, Prince has had no problem selling the Instagram uploads for up to $100,000 each.

Art collectors of ArtKabinett social media network are intrigued by these pricey Prince prints. Perhaps your own photo is displayed at Gagosian?

As is always the case with Prince's particular practice of appropriation, questions of copyright infringement have dominated the dialogue surrounding the works on sites including PetaPixel and Business Insider.

The artist pulls the photographs from the Instagram pages of his subjects -- Prince's digital version of his long-standing invention of 'Re-photography' -- thereby, directly appropriating the images as his own work and selling them for six figures.

The artist adds his own comments, takes a screenshot of the photo, and blows it up to fit a large canvas -- an act similar to the artist's re-cropping.

Is he generating a 'new' work of art? Not according to some of his subjects.

Copyright Infringement

The model and cosmetics entrepreneur, Doe Deere, wrote on Instagram last week after a portrait of her was presented at Frieze New York, "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!"

Deere tagged her post #lifeisstrange #modernart #wannabuyaninstagrampicture.

In 2013, the artist won a lawsuit in the United States Court of Appeals by photographer Patrick Cariou over his "Canal Zone" series, for which Prince modified in various ways several of Cariou's Panamanian landscape photographs and portraits of Rastafarians.

Subsequently it was ruled that all but five of the works altered the original content enough that they were "transformative" and therefore did not constitute infringement.

Business Insider has noted, that unless Prince is taken to court, there is no way of knowing whether or not he is guilty of copyright infringement, despite the fact that the artist has not received permission to use most of the photographs.

The simple fact that he has altered the images might help meet the requirements of fair use, a defense against the charge of copyright infringement.

Unless action is taken by any of his celebrity subjects, to prove or disprove copyright infringement, it would seem that the artist's long-standing practice of appropriation will continue. Of course, if Richard Prince uses your face in a $100K-artwork, that is the best publicity you could possibly wish for.

Today's homepage Featured Art Video tajes a closer look at this Richard Prince exhibition.