At Least One Photographer Has Sued Instagram Artist Richard Prince for Stealing a Photo


Richard Prince, the artist who printed out other people’s Instagram photos and called it art, has been sued for copyright infringement by one of the artists who “supplied” the images for his work.

Photographer Donald Graham has filed a lawsuit against Prince, the Gagosian Gallery in New York city and its owner, Larry Gagosian, for the illegal reproduction of a copyrighted photograph. According to ArtNet, Graham has claimed that Prince knowingly reproduced his photo, Rastafarian Smoking a Joint, without adequate editing to consider it an original work of art.

The photo was released in October 2014, as part of Prince’s now-infamous “New Portraits” collection, where Prince printed large glossy versions of professional portraits he posted to Instagram and commented on, but did not take. Adding insult to injury, Prince and Gagosian sold pieces from the collection at Frieze Art Fair New York for up to $100,000 per photo.

As one might expect, the photos of photos ruffled many feathers. Graham reportedly filed a cease-and-desist letter in February 2015 to Prince and Gagosian, requesting the removal of the print using his photo from the collection.

Though Prince has received some praise for his work, this feels like the moment when his fine art stunt takes a tragic turn… Or a just one, depending on how you feel about Prince’s little thought experiment.

Personally, we thought the whole thing was boring as hell.