By rephotographing an image from a magazine to make his 1977 work Untitled (couple), Richard Prince extracted the uncanny from the generic. For Michael Newman rephotography gives this couple – with their shiny faces and dated clothes – the afterlife of ghosts or vampires. He explores this work in relation to a decisive shift in the image after conceptual art in the context of American popular culture. Drawing on his previously unpublished 1983 interview with Prince as well as the artist’s own writings, Newman discusses the connections of Untitled (couple) to ideas of allegory, simulacrum, fiction and the formation of personal identity in a society of commodity and spectacle.
‘[Newman] astutely links the artist’s photographs to Dan Graham’s Homes for America and Warhol’s blank silk screens, [and] historicises what it meant to be a thief of images in the tawny sunlight of Reagan’s “Morning in America”.’
– Eric Banks, Bookforum