The title of the Together portfolio characterizes Prince’s collaboration with a dead, non-consenting artist. This portfolio, comprising 18 collages, begs the question: Why do Willem DeKooning’s sexually charged paintings repress their true subject?
Prince's inspiration came while flipping through a catalogue of DeKooning’s paintings. He found his entry point through the mounting of his Frankensteined male figures -- taken from obscure male soft-porn magazines -- to Willem's women. Prince weds the unknowable woman from quintessentially highbrow American abstraction to his composite white-trash American male (with a few torsos of comically busty vintage pin-up girls thrown in) and brings them to consummation in an orgy of cutting, tearing, taping, and pasting in his messy bed of art history.
For New Figures, Richard Prince once again borrows imagery from mass media, in this case 1950’s era nudie pictures from pulp magazines intended to stimulate the sexual urges of male readers. In making the collages, Prince literally cuts away the titillating bits, revealing a re-drawing of the bits in his own hand beneath. Part homage to Picasso and DeKooning, Prince de-fetishizes the female form and disrupts the male gaze.