A nice post by Greg Allen on Greg.org lays it all out better than I could. (My own meta-opinion is that Richard Prince simply isn't a very good artist. Sniff.)
(Thanks to Sean Keane)
"His retrospective seemed to go on forever at the Walker Gallery in Minneapolis. I stopped by several times to see various shows, artworks, etc., and always wound up wandering through the Prince show again. My conclusion was the absolute opposite of Doug's: The photography I found interesting, but the painting truly sucked. The guy has few ideas and little craft. And if you feel compelled to ask, no, I don't think that 'deliberately bad painting technique' is a legitimate tactic. 8-)
"The one fuzzy idea that he did have was that you could reposition and reformat good advertising photographs made by other people, to re-emphasize and comment upon the meaning of the original. In some of the photos, especially the Marlboro man, it worked. Not that he couldn't have found another way to do it, but I'm not sure that his talent runs to actual creativity.
"In any case, in my humble opinion, his painting is painfully bad, but you can look at the photos for a while—I mean, the originals were pretty good, and you can't keep a good photo down.
"Another comment, as long as I'm here. While the Prince show was going on at the Walker, The Minneapolis Institute of Art had an Ed Ruscha display called 'Stains,' which were, quite literally...stains. And I mean, absolutely like stains you'd find on your placemat after a messy lunch at McDonalds. Not like serious stains. Gotta say, made me laugh, that they'd be shown (apparently seriously) in such as august institution. I suspected that if you turned them over, you'd find a very small penciled message that said, 'Pull my finger.' Anyway, they are to Prince as Prince is to Rembrandt.
"Another thing that makes me laugh is that in every interview I've ever seen with Ruscha, he emphasizes that his name is pronounced 'roo-shay.' Yeah: I got your rooshay right here, pal."