Untitled (300 x 404)
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I started making things because I had ideas for things that I myself wanted to see, to hold, to experience: things that don't exist, or that don't exist anymore; things that no one else was making. The original of Untitled (300 x 404) is a thumbnail-size jpeg of Untitled (Cowboy), 2003, Richard Prince's rephotograph of a Marlboro ad by Sam Abell, which I grabbed from the web. An online magazine had (ridiculously, I thought) been denied permission to reproduce Prince's version so, following his example, I declared the copy my own work and offered it to them. Then I wondered, what would this low-res, digital thing be like as a physical object? The process turned out to be unexpectedly challenging. We have constructed our image world on the assumption that high fidelity equals high resolution. Our most sophisticated photo software, interpolation algorithms and digital printers—and our own perceptual expectations—conspire against the pixel-accurate reproduction of a low-res image. But the struggle to faithfully reproduce Untitled (300 x 404) was rewarded by serendipitous elegance. The larger these prints become, the more they diverge from Richard Prince's source, and the more clearly they reveal the essential elements of their source—and their own inherent beauty.
Greg Allen | See All Editions
greg.org: the making of has served as a platform for documenting his own creative process and for exploring the artists, projects and history that inspire him. As a contributor to the New York Times, Cabinetand other publications, Allen investigates the anomalies of making, showing and collecting contemporary art. He has published three books on the Cariou v. Prince copyright infringement case, including the complete transcript of Richard Prince's 2009 deposition. Exhibition Space, his 2013 show at apexart, traced the origins of conceptual photography and Minimalism through NASA's first satellite mission, Project Echo, surveillance, and the politics of the Space Race. He has also curated exhibitions at Exit Art and The Drawing Center, and has shown his work at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and at Postmasters, 601 Artspace, and Clementine Gallery in New York City. Installments of The Souvenir Series, his 12-part documentary about memory, have screened at various film festivals, including Documentary Fortnight, Interfilm Berlin and Palm Springs IFF. His wife is an astrophysicist. They have two kids.