Female Trouble: Richard Prince and Cindy Sherman

Two veteran artists offer two very different visions of women

Prince, even more than Sherman, has been a beneficiary of the market boom. (Ironically, their relationship ended because he couldn't handle her early success, he later admitted.) So it's fitting that he's now showing at Gagosian, a kind of emporium for the pornography of the market, echoed literally in the work of Currin, Damien Hirst, or Cecily Brown, one of the few women shown there.

But while Prince is trotted out as transgressive—the "hetero, macho, bad-boy artist," Nancy Spector described him in her fawning Guggenheim catalog essay—it's Sherman who is addressing the real taboo in our culture: aging among women (or Currin's frighteningly termed "object" of loathing).

Art market KO's politics: Prince's On the Beach, On the Beach
© Richard Prince. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery / Photography by Robert McKeever
Art market KO's politics: Prince's On the Beach, On the Beach


Richard Prince
Gagosian Gallery
555 West 24th Street, 212-741-1111
Through December 20

Cindy Sherman
Metro Pictures
519 West 24th Street, 212-206-7100
Through December 23

Sherman's new body of work isn't pitch-perfect; sometimes it's shrill and cartoonish. But it's fearless and self-searching compared to Prince's decadent colonial exotica. On the other hand, with the art market poised on the brink of apocalypse, maybe Prince offers the perfect punctuation for a moment about to end.

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