Artist Richard Prince Burns Disputed Canal Zone Painting: “To Them It Stands for Money”

June 10, 2013 | Kyle Chayka

Past Friday afternoon, artist and recent legal provocateur Richard Prince tweeted a link to a video in which he is seen burning one of his still disputed  “Canal Zone” paintings. The tweet has since been deleted.

Rewind: Years ago, the artist was sued by photographer Patrick Cariou over the artist’s use of his photographs in a series of paintings and collages titled Canal Zone.

Since the initial ruling favor of Cariou, the case was recently appealed by Prince. The court determined that the work of the artist was, in fact, “transformative.”

The case has previously been covered in great depth by Greg Allen, leading to the release of two books documenting the original court proceedings in their entirety.

The ruling applied to twenty-five paintings in a series of thirty, leaving the legal fate of five undetermined, Gallerist clarifies.

The video, which is now private and inaccessible, showed the artist standing outside his studio in the snow with one of these paintings, declaring that “to them this stands for money.” Then, Prince’s assistant pours a large amount of gasoline onto Graduation, igniting it and allowing it to be burnt to a crisp.

That’s one way to make a point.