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A cowboy walks into a b ar and says to the bartender\, "Who's the asshole who owns this shithole?"< /em>
—Richard Prince

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Gagosian Gallery is pleased to present Richard Prince's Cowboy paintings.

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Over the last thirty years\, the American cow boy has given rise to some of Prince's most celebrated works. Dividing into several phases between the early 1980s and the present\, his rephotographi ng of verité images inspired by cowboy Westerns and produced for the advert ising industry\, reveals as much about his shifting relationship to an Amer ican icon and its construction by the mass media as his use of evolving rep rographic technologies.

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In the earliest iterations\, out of necessity Pr ince shot around advertising copy to obtain the final edit\, resulting in t ightly cropped\, grainy close-ups of larger-than-life ranchers\, printed in standard format. In the second stage\, enhanced production techniques allo wed him to substantially increase the scale and intensity of the final imag es\, and move his subjects out into the landscape. In the third phase he wa s able to work from high quality images totally devoid of copy. Thus the co wboys were reduced to diminutive yet legible ciphers dwarfed by vast\, buco lic American landscapes. Transposed into the world of art\, these cinematic vistas evoked—not without a trace of irony—the great Romantic tradition in painting.

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For his first Cowboy paintings\, which follow earlie r series of Nurse paintings\, Prince has again tapped pulp fiction for inspiration. Directly inspired by the covers and cover artwork of so-c alled "frontier books\," he has transferred to canvas greatly enlarged inkj et prints of scanned figures removed from their original settings. He then paints in\, around\, and over the prints in an uninhibited manner evocative of post-war American painting—from sedimentary layers and floating blocks of color to swipes and splatters of more animated moments.

At a glance\, the Cowboy pain tings are ironic appropriations intended to deconstruct both a regressive s tereotype and the truth of uninhibited artistic gesture. But on closer scru tiny\, there is an undeniable element of complicit pleasure in Prince's mas terfully casual renderings of figure and ground where the powerful male gun slingers are little more than pretexts or catalysts for free experimentatio n with paint. Lush\, lurid abstract grounds\, rapidly executed\, replace th e information of the former landscape backgrounds\, intimating at various a tmospheric conditions or temperaments: the vaporous pastels of a midday sum mer haze\; a rosy dawn or a vermilion sunset\; the fresh green depths of a mountain landscape\, or the ominous dark of night.

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Richard Princ e was born in 1949 in the Panama Canal Zone. His work has been the subject of major survey exhibitions\, including the Whitney Museum of Amer ican Art\, New York (1992)\; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1993)\; Mu seum Boijmans van Beuningen\, Rotterdam (1993)\; Museum für Gegenwartskunst \, Basel (2001\, traveled to Kunsthalle Zurich and Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg)\; Serpentine Gallery\, London (2008)\; “Richard Prince: Spiritual America\,” Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2007 (traveled to The Walker Art Center\, Minneapolis\, 2008)\; and “Richard Prince: American Prayer\,” an exhibition of American literature and ephemera from the artist’s collection\, Bibliot hèque nationale de France\, Paris (2011).

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Prince lives and works in New York.

DTEND:20130406 DTSTAMP:20141228T234822 DTSTART:20130221 GEO:34.0696985;-118.4049777 LOCATION:Gagosian Gallery - Beverly Hills\,456 N. Camden Dr. \nBeverly Hill s\, CA 90210 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Cowboys\, Richard Prince UID:258784 END:VEVENT BEGIN:VEVENT DTEND:20130221T200000 DTSTAMP:20141228T234822 DTSTART:20130221T180000 GEO:34.0696985;-118.4049777 LOCATION:Gagosian Gallery - Beverly Hills\,456 N. Camden Dr. \nBeverly Hill s\, CA 90210 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Cowboys\, Richard Prince UID:258785 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR