Artist Richard Prince recently made his private show at the Gagosian Gallery in New York public. According to the New York post “Prince’s 48-inch by 56-inch″ inkjet prints from celebs’ social media feeds — with his comments underneath that are sometimes just emojis — have been on display for VIPs in a private area at the Madison Avenue space. A spy who saw the works said pics of Pam Anderson and Kate Moss are included and selling for up to $100,000.”
However it turns out that the gallery didn’t only feature celebrity instagram shots, it also featured images from “regular” instagram users. Now you’re probably thinking, this has to be illegal, right? Wrong. The pieces are perfectly legal because they fall under a category called “retrophotographing” a process in which you screenshot someone’s instragram photo, remove the original text and add an original text or image to it instead, therefore making it legal.
While these images are selling for over $90,000 each, many of the people depicted in the images aren’t even aware their Instagram shots are being used, one user even posted a picture of her photo up in the gallery and captioned it “Figured I might as well post this since everyone is texting me. Yes, my portrait is currently displayed at the Frieze Gallery in NYC. Yes, it’s just a screenshot (not a painting). No, I did not give my permission and yes, the controversial artist Richard Prince put it up anyway. It’s already sold ($90K I’ve been told) during the VIP preview. No, I’m not gonna go after him. And nope, I have no idea who ended up with it!”