Two Possibilities for the Sold-Out Cover Art from Bill Powers’ Book.

by Will Brand on March 6, 2012 · 10 comments Opinion

For some reason, at one point the print cost $875, despite explicitly costing $750 or $950.

Reader Matt pointed us to this item at Exhibition A, a print derived from the Richard Prince-designed cover to Bill Powers’ new book, What We Lose in Flowers. It’s a medium-sized inkjet print of a nude woman, whose genitals are covered by a DVD label bearing the title and author of the book. It’s in an edition of 100, and costs either $750 or $950, depending on how quickly you buy.

The print went on sale at noon today. Thirty minutes later, when we saw it, the print had sold out.

Two possibilities:

  1. Powers’ fiction debut, Tall Island, a Sex-and-the City-esque tale of smart, sexy, wealthy New Yorkers figuring out how to interact with other humans, earned him a fanatical audience after garnering rave reviews; in one of three Amazon comments, for instance, a former employee of his wife said of the book, “u feel like u know these charcters.” That audience, spurred by a deluge of pre-publication press about What We Lose in Flowers…, purchased $81,000 worth of Prince prints from the website in less than 30 minutes, despite Exhibition A prominently warning that there would be a “limit of three prints per customer.” Exhibition A considers moving the sold-out print to the Archive section of the site, along with every one of the dozen or so prints that have sold out in the history of the site, but either a computer glitch or a stroke of marketing genius keeps the item in the Shop section, next to the book and eighty-odd other prints which are still for sale.
  2. Something’s fishy here.


Corinna Kirsch March 6, 2012 at 4:57 pm

3. Bill Powers has a secret society of fan boys. Most people, like us, are completely unaware of their existence. They spend their parents’ money buying up anything Bill Powers has touched, from his scuffed up sunglasses to last season’s scarf, just so they can get one step closer to the dream.

Thomas Oh Facke March 6, 2012 at 5:36 pm

In my opinion, it is fishy. The print was sold-out much quicker than 30 minutes.  I logged on around 12:08 and they were already gone.

I believe that Exhibition A has been known to hold back parts of editions for future release/sale.  I’d assume that is the case here and would expect examples of the prints to make their way to the usual suspects marked at a substantially higher price.

CarrollD March 6, 2012 at 6:00 pm

I actually logged on at Noon exactly and the website was obviously bombarded with traffic–it froze up immediately.  That said, I was able to purchase one a few minutes later for $950, so I would have been toward the end of the line.  I’m a big fan of Prince’s work but I honestly hadn’t heard of Bill Powers or his book–I purchased rather blindly.  As far as I know, there was no preview of the print so you had to just buy instantaneously.  While I was at the “checkout” page paying for the print, the “sold out” sign came up so the series must have sold out completely within just a few minutes. 

Christopher Dodge March 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Aha!  So you’re beginning to understand that all the “sold out” gallery shows (etc.) associated with this crowd might not be sold out?

natorious86 March 6, 2012 at 7:26 pm

i wouldnt call it a print, it was a poster for little boys walls

Matt March 7, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Also note that the piece was presented as an edition by Richard Prince with NO mention of it also, coincidentally, being the cover / title of Bill’s new book. World’s most subtle marketing?

DKC March 7, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Everyone knows that Bill Powers runs Exhibition A, right? 

Averyleider March 8, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Maybe the invitations and promotion of the release party and signing at Karma, on Downing Street, in Greenwich Village, that same day, March 6, was the cause of the quick sell-out.   Was AFC invited?  Did anybody go to the party?  Was it an amazing release party?  Please tell us why you didn’t go. 

Pascal Vogtle March 26, 2012 at 6:58 am

Hi, I am interested in buying one of these prints. Does anyone might be interested in selling? Pascal (

Carlitony March 29, 2012 at 3:10 pm

I logged on to their website at 12 05 and could not load the page, it was definitely overloaded. I had to try several times and I finally got the 95/100 edition at 12 08. I don’t know whether Exhibition A kept some prints or not to sell them at a much higher price later, but for sure the demand from actual customers was overwhelming.

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