Richard Prince’s Nurses!!

Hello Beautiful Thinkers,

runaway-nurse-2006-rps183I’ve been getting tired of looking up paintings and sculptures from long, long ago. (At least this week that is.) So I went in search of something new by someone I’ve never heard of and that search led me to the nurses.  Between 2002 and 2008, Richard Prince painted a series of several different nurses.  I’m not talking portraits of real life nurses that he went out, found, and asked to pose for him.  These nurses are all modeled after the classic white-uniform-and-hat paradigm we know from the 50’s and 60’s.  That’s just where he got the idea too.  Prince’s nurses are based on the cover of pulp-fiction paperbacks from that time period.

richard-prince-student-nurseBook covers were transferred onto canvases, often after being manipulated.  He then added different touches to each canvas, blotting out everything but the nurse with different colors, mostly purple, red, and black mixtures, to give her a foggy back drop.  The finished product became something much darker than the inspiration.  In fact, the nurse book covers almost have a romantic sensibility to them while the paintings capture a morbid feeling.  When I look at these pictures I can feel all the horrors that these woman witnessed as part of a job that the rest of us forget exists.  In several of the pieces lines of the paint run down the canvas, the same way we see fake blood run down the walls in crime shows.

Prince brings mystery to his subjects by covering the majority of each one’s face with that all too familiar white surgical mask that we saw trending during flu season a few years ago.  The part of the face left uncovered, the eyes, always look like they hold a secret.  While I prefer the more defined images, he also has a few pieces that blur the nurse along with the backdrop.  They seem to lose the sexuality and knowledge that the cleaner pieces hold in the eyes.  The last touch on each painting is a title, sometimes the actual title of the book itself lettered onto the canvas, but each has a different touch that suits the rest of the painting.

richard-prince-surf-safari-nurse-1345375892_bMy favorite is Surf Safari Nurse.  The title sounds like a fun sunshiny vacation, but the painting feels like the complete opposite engulfing the nurse in a black background with hints of red that look like blood creeping out of the blackness onto her uniform.  I find the dark tone that Richard Prince brings to these paintings very captivating, and I’m obviously not the only one.  In an article listing Prince as one of the top living contemporary artists, I found that “Runaway Nurse” sold for $6,802,500.  The nurse paintings are only one series from this artist; there’s still so much to see from him.

photoKeep Learning Beautiful Thinkers,

The Boy In The Heart Shades

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