In conveying the seriousness with which he sees and uses his lighthearted material, Richard Prince has said, “Jokes and cartoons are part of any mainstream magazine. Especially magazines like The New Yorker or Playboy. They’re right up there with the editorial and advertisements and table of contents and letters to the editors. They’re part of the layout, part of the Îsights’ and Îgags.’ Sometimes they’re political, sometimes they just make fun of everyday life. Once in a while they drive people to protest and storm foreign embassies and kill people. Prince has always recycled found materials from American popular culture, most often images from advertisements and magazine photography. He re-photographs, silkscreens, overpaints, frames, enlarges or composes collages, playing with the material’s somehow empty meaning. Citation, deflection, appropriation: every treatment is explored and played with. Among these works, as among the pages of the magazines, jokes and cartoons occupy an important place. This book, conceived by the artist, assembles for the first time the raw material of the creation of his “Joke Paintings”–not just the well-known works, but never-before-seen examples from his personal collection, his unpublished manuscripts and the original cartoons and jokes themselves.