Top image: © Richard Prince. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery Photography by Robert McKeever
Artist Richard Prince is being sued for the fifth time over his unauthorised use of a photographer Eric McNat’s of Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon.
Prince’s 2014 exhibition New Portraits was a collection of other people’s Instagram photos then reappropriated by Prince. As reported by Courthouse News, McNat took his photo of Gordon for Paper Magazine in 2014.
For New Portraits, Prince cropped McNatt’s image slightly and posted it on his own Instagram with the captions,“Portrait of Kim Gordon,” and then “Kool Thang You Make My Heart Sang You Make Everything Groovy,” in reference to Sonic Youth track Kool Thing. He then printed a screenshot of that image on canvas.
Prince’s attorney responded in a statement: “The complaint fundamentally misunderstands the case law on fair use and how the exemption from the monopoly of rights granted under the copyright statute applies. Mr. Prince has enjoyed a long friendship with Ms. Gordon and admires her as an artist; this work at issue in the case makes fair use of a photograph of Ms. Gordon allegedly taken in the first instance with her permission by a photographer for publication in (Paper Magazine.)”
In February Gordon posted a photo of herself holding Prince’s image of her. McNatt’s assistant, Paul Teeling, left the below comment on that post:
“I was there for this photo shoot as the assistant to the photographer Eric McNatt. The shoot was for Paper magazine and Kim you were simply wonderful to work with.. But Kim I want to remind you that Eric got paid $0 for this photoshoot for paper magazine. Whereas Richard Prince has stolen Eric’s photograph and created a print edition that s selling for how much??? How different is this from downloading free music or pirating other peoples music and selling it on the street? Well, actually it’s worse.”