A lot of people were texting me on Thursday night telling me that my photo of Roxy was hanging in the Gagosian Gallery at the much anticipated Richard Prince opening in Beverly Hills. I’ve known about him using my Instagram photo for a year or so and the question I’ve always battled with is, how do I feel about it? Am I mad? Do I think it’s cool that such a celebrated artist highjacked my image and reappropriated it as his own (and sells it for $50,000 a show)? I knew the only way I could finally be able to resolve this question was to come face to face with it and interpret my feelings in a physical setting. I walked in, turned to the right and was instantaneously confronted with the quandary that has poked at me since the day I found out about it. There it was, my photo, now claimed by another artist and hanging in one of the most prestigious galleries in the world. I stood there, analyzed it and the only thing that I could think about is when I took the actual photograph on my phone. I remember I was so upset about Instagram banning my account numerous times for uncensored content. In that moment I wanted to make peace with the fact that I will never win against a machine that has full control of how and what we post from a creative standpoint. It was me fighting a censorship that I knew I would never win. I posted the image and then the oddest thing began to happen. I started seeing so many other people censoring their photos with their fingers or in other creative ways which means this one post gave birth to a ton of images that didn’t exist prior. I wasn’t upset that people used it as inspiration. I thought it was amazing because that’s what art is, visualizing something, being inspired by it and then bringing it to life from your own viewpoint. As I walked away to go admire all of the other work I finally felt closure. Out of the billions of photo’s floating around on Instagram, Richard Prince took notice of one of mine. There was something there that spoke to him and he paid it the greatest compliment that another artist can give, he turned it into his own and then hung it on a white wall where it may have never been able to exist on without his influence.
Everyone go check out the show running until March 21st.