Richard Prince was part of the Pictures Generation of artists of the 1970s and 80s who ransacked the image banks of popular culture, redeploying mass-media imagery in politically subversive ways. Taking magazine advertising as his point of departure, Prince’s work both reflects and critiques American culture.
Prince’s use of advertising material was informed by a period of employment at the Time-Life Corporation, where he cut articles from popular magazines, leaving behind the advertisements. He began re-photographing these advertisements, cropping, refocusing and otherwise altering the images to suit his own purposes.
‘Untitled (cowboy)’, a politically charged image, is taken from a Marlboro advertisement. Stripped of its logo and branding paraphernalia, the image evokes a masculine ideal, harking back to a fantasy of pastoralist America life.