Book Nerds: Richard Prince

A new series on interesting book collectors.

Richard Prince is among my favorite of contemporary artists. His Marlboro Man changed the way I thought about art and his autographed photos remain among the high points of New York clever school of art.


Prince's Untitled (Cowboy)
The Brilliant Autograph Series

Prince is also a serious book nerd. His collection, housed in a climate controlled vault in upstate New York, is wide ranging. It includes a signed first edition of Ulysses, Vladimir Nabokov’s desk copy of the Olympia Edition of Lolita, and Bridget Berlin’s handwritten Cock Book. As Prince explains, “Basically, my collection is about sex, drugs, Beats, hippies, punks. . . And great reads.” It is said to be among the best collections post war American literature in private hands.

The idea originally was American from Prince’s birth in 1949 to his 1984, but the collection has expanded a bit beyond that at this point. Rumor has it he is in the process of cataloging it and will perhaps donate it to the Morgan library or some other institution. I hope so; I’d love to see the hand corrections Vlad did on Lolita.

On a personal note, I’ve got a couple of Prince’s books myself. Two monographs, including the one issued for his retrospective at the Guggenheim, plus an edition of his book Why I Go to the Movies Alone bought by yours truly for four dollars, currently going for about two hundred on Amazon.

Further reading on Prince collection can be found here, and here.

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