Currently on show at the Gagosian Gallery, New York is a series of controversial Instagram portraits by social media troll/artist, Richard Prince. The six feet by four feet inkjet canvases are of someone else’s Instagram page featuring salacious material including young girls posing semi-naked, taking provocative selfies.
His true authorship lies in the comment thread below each image, adding layers to the already unsettling photos and revealing the relationships between the artist and his subjects in a way that viewers are historically so rarely exposed to. Under the titillating images, his Terry-Richardson-cross-Reddit-troll comments are crude and disconcerting. Is this his real voice? Or is this a made-up character to demonstrate the disturbing mingling of illicit behaviours, online personalities and social media?
Prince taps into the narcissistic and carefully curated self-documentation of our vulnerable personal lives and identities but also raises questions of privacy, copyright, appropriation and exploitation in our digital age.