Issue #156  2/6/2009
Richard Prince Sued Again For Copyright Infringement

The Art Newspaper has reported that French photographer Patrick Cariou has filed a lawsuit against Richard Prince. The suit claims that the artist improperly lifted images from Cariou's photographic survey of Rastafarian culture for a recent series of paintings. The lawsuit, which was filed in New York City, also names as co-defendants Larry Gagosian, Prince's dealer who displayed the series in a recent show, and publishing house Rizzoli, which co-produced the catalogue. Besides unspecified damages for copyright infringement, the lawsuit also demands the "impounding, destruction, or other disposition" of all of the paintings, unsold catalogues and preparatory materials involved in the making of the works.

The photographer's lawyer and representatives for Prince and Gagosian all declined to comment on the suit, according to the Art Newspaper.

This is not the first time the legality of art appropriation has come up as an issue--even with Prince.

According to the Art Newspaper, in the 1980s photographer Garry Gross sued Prince over "Spiritual America", a 1983 work that consisted of a blown-up copy of a picture Gross took of a very young, nude Brooke Shields. Reportedly the suit was settled out of court.

Of course it was Prince's series of enlarged Marlborough advertisements that brought him international attention from some and derision from others. Many of the photographic copies sold for millions of dollars, but also angered the commercial photographers who actually took the pictures in the first place.