Quote from Eklund, Douglas. The Pictures Generation, 1974-1984. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009.
“That both Sherrie Levine and Richard Prince became known for stealing the images of others– whether great artists from the canon or hack advertising photographers– and claiming them as their own gave them the reputation of outlaws of sorts, and to this day both take pleasure from the visceral reactions that their thefts provoke. On paper at least, the critics had it exactly right: in their early appropriations, Prince and Levine broke a law so fundamental and widely accepted that it isn’t visible until someone breaks it. This law maintains that the artist must vouch for the paternity of his (or her) work, that it came from the artist and not some other source; the entire aesthetic house of cards and all of the salutary myths that art provides for society are built around this symbolic rite of ownership.”