Brockenbrough A. Lamb *
One day in the fall of 2011, a man unrolled a blanket on a sidewalk by Central Park, laid out multiple copies of a book, and started selling them for forty dollars apiece. The man was the notorious appropriation artist Richard Prince, and the books for sale were near-duplicates of an early edition of The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. They were “near-duplicates” for one very obvious reason: on the dustcover, title page, and copyright page, Prince’s name appeared in place of Salinger’s. As it turns out, these books were part of Prince’s latest art project—500 meticulously constructed copies of The Catcher in the Rye using thick, high quality paper meant to mimic the 1951 original, the same cover art as the original, and most astonishingly, the same text as the original (in its entirety).