News

Cariou v. Prince Settled Out of Court

by Mostafa Heddaya on March 19, 2014

prince_banalzone

The images associated with Richard Prince’s contested series have yet to be restored to the Gagosian website. (screenshot via Gagosian Gallery)

A settlement announced yesterday marks the end of the five-year legal saga between photographer Patrick Cariou and appropriation artist Richard Prince, the New York Times reported. Though the terms of the agreement are confidential, the private settlement between the two parties likely clears the possibility for further legal ambiguity in the Cariou v. Prince case, where the outstanding question of five Prince works was an unresolved thread.

At left, original from Patrick Carious's “Yes Rasta”; at right, Richard Prince's “Canal Zone” series. (image via artinfo.com)

At left, original from Patrick Carious’s “Yes Rasta”; at right, a painting from Richard Prince’s “Canal Zone” series (image via Fordham’s IPLJ)

The April 2013 decision of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned a lower court’s ruling that Prince’s paintings from his Canal Zone series, shown at Gagosian in 2008, infringed on Patrick Cariou’s original photography and should be destroyed. The appeals decision has become an important text on copyright law — not to mention an intriguing example of how juridical questions can intersect with aesthetic ones. The case has also proved fertile ground for amicus briefs submitted on behalf of both parties — including a brief filed by the Warhol Foundation on behalf of Prince.

Whatever the terms of the settlement may be, they clearly have not cowed Prince, who has patrolled the story via his voluble Twitter account. “What does this mean?” he asked in response to a tweet from the Wall Street Journal‘s Kelly Crow, who had shared a link to the New York Times story announcing the deal yesterday. “Ha you tell me! :),” Crow responded, prompting an “I can’t tell anything” from Prince (the rest of the exchange is also worth reading). Another great tweet:

Meanwhile, Gagosian will hopefully get around to putting the images back up on the web page for the Canal Zone exhibition, as they appear to have been intentionally taken down at some point; it’s the only one of his shows lacking images.

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