Richard Prince, "T-Shirt Paintings: Hippie Punk"

The artist's T-shirt paintings are brought together for the first time.

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  • Untitled (Jimi Hendrix)

  • Untitled (Woodstock)

  • Untitled

  • Untitled (A long-haired hippie...)

Untitled (Jimi Hendrix)

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5

It’s hard to believe that in the 25 years Richard Prince has been making his irreverent T-shirt paintings, these works have never been exhibited together until now. But it’s true.

Perhaps Prince was waiting for the right venue. The show was slated for Salon 94’s Freeman Alley location, but when Prince discovered that the owners were opening a new branch, he claimed first dibs. He also requested that the space, a former restaurant-supply store, be left raw. Smart move: These works don’t belong on pristine walls.

In each, Prince stretches an example of the iconic American garment on canvas before giving it a special treatment: stained and yellowed, covered in abstract brushstrokes, adorned with cheeky buttons, silk-screened with deadpan jokes, iconic photographs or newspaper clippings, or some combination of all the above. A few are left untreated except for the addition of plastic seals from Led Zeppelin CDs (no need to mess with Led Zeppelin). On still another set, he’s crudely drawn flowers or animals. If these images seem childish, it’s entirely intentional: They were borrowed from his kids’ bedroom walls.

Back in 1984, Prince’s seminal “Spiritual America” was shown in a storefront just around the corner. Now Prince has come home, only the area is no longer the bohemian mecca of yore. Indeed, plans are for the new Salon 94, just two doors up from the New Museum, to reopen in September, spruced up with fresh Sheetrock. Until then, Prince’s show gives us an invigorating whiff of subversive Americana.

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Salon 94 Bowery, through June 26

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