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How Does Richard Prince's Notorious "Canal Zone" Look 6 Years Later? Like Freedom

Is there anything left to say about Richard Prince's notorious "Canal Zone" paintings and their attendant legal controversy? The case was finally settled, leaving its effect on copyright law uncertain. Art-world scolds who railed against Prince's appropriation of photographer Patrick Cariou's Rastafarian images have moved onto new causes. The dozen or so pictures, looking as if some of them might be new but all dated 2008, are now on view at Gagosian Madison Avenue, filling both the main sixth-floor gallery and the long, tall space on five.

Prince's "Canal Zone" series figured in my favorite giveaway at Frieze New York, the first edition of Gagosian's 32-page tabloid newspaper. The publication—a galley 'zine?—includes Prince's apocalyptic fantasy, a kind of short story titled "Eden Rock." The tale, which Prince characterizes as a cross between The Lord of the Flies and a zombie movie, begins with an island-hopping Caribbean vacation interrupted by nuclear holocaust, with the resort civilization soon collapsing into battling tribes. Tourists on the ships, waiting to be rescued and taken care of, are easy pickings for marauders, but the seven-member cruise-ship reggae band is savvy, holing up in a resort hotel located on an easily defensible spit of land. The story is not unlike J.G. Ballard's 1975 grim novel High Rise with a dash of Prince's signature insouciance...

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