Canal Zone, a new series of collages by artist Richard Prince, opened November 8, 2008 at the Gagosian Gallery. Prince inspired by his birthplace, The Panama Canal, draws a narrative that carries contentious topics of race, colonialism, and separatism. In the artwork, Djuna Barnes, Natalie Barney, Renee Vivian and Roman Brooks take over the Guahnahani, nude women stretch and bend into erotic poses. Many of the names of the paintings feature hotels in the island of St. Barth which the artist relates to the work in the following quote:
“The story was basically about a guy who lands in St Barth, gets off the plane, is immediately told that there’s been a nuclear holocaust in the rest of the world, and he looks at his family and says ‘We can’t go back.’”
Their figures cut from magazines, then pasted against a jungle backdrop are missing eyes, mouths, and noses that dehumanize and objectify the sensuous subjects. Using stereotypical images consisting of nude women, Rastafarian men, guitars, cars, and jungle landscapes Prince’s new works lay heavy within a perpetual bed of interpretation. Pending on size, these large-scale collage pieces range from $1 to $3 million dollars and will exhibit through December 20, 2008.
Check also this past interview with Richard Prince.