Richard Prince-Nurse Paintings.

A nurse is a mother/whore combined in one women, who will clean up yr puke and give you a comfort handjob all in the same night & because they comfort acts of violence, acts of violence are mythologized against them (Richard Cook thrillers, Abby Lockhart in peril on ER, the implications of Richard Speck as the first spree.) But the pulp novels of the 60s and 70s, whose images were raided for these works are sweet and Prince wants to add a level of discomfort.

In reproduction they are creepy into and unto themselves–ink jet prints are painted over with gestural abstractions, filled with the colours of blood,bile,feces, urine and phelgm. The only thing that doesn’t seem dirty are the nurses themselves, with wide white masks obfuscating faces or grimacing mouths emprisoned by sterile white cotton. In Washington Nurse, a blackened smeared figure looks menacing over a womens shoulder, In Nurse of Green Meadow, a white figure has fled to the edge of the field, she looks over her shoulder with hope. The pieces in reproduction have an intimate destruction, printed they seem to recycle themselves, from marred pulp to high art, thanks to post consumer paper. In life though I imagine the work to be much different, they are huge, 6 feet by 4 feet, 5 feet by 3 feet, 6. 5 feet by 5 feet. They are the size of men who live them. They would intimidate those who are smaller.

An artist who is so usually textual, it is odd how the text appears in these pieces. It is hidden, only certain words appear under a dozen layers of acrylic– they are naming devices mostly it’s the word nurse with a geographical adjectives (like surgical, dormitory, Washington, Park Avenue) hovering over sexulized saints- sometimes other words appear, all from the book covers themselves, and all working as a poem of absences rather then presences–you can see the phrase romance playing politics but not the rest of the tag line in Washington Nurses, and the phrase wrong men in nurses dormitory, but not much else.

Maybe this is making women victims again, and maybe there is an element of ownership here, but I think that this is more an act of fuck you to nostalgia, like how he castrated the marlboro man by taking away his phallus, he removes the sexuality of these women by reminding us of their size, their importance, the violence done against them, and the healing violence done by them.