If by some chance you happen to be passing through Rensselaerville, a formerly wealthy, now eerily becalmed, mill town in far upstate New York, you might possibly notice a neat, substantial, brick-built house at the center of town. It’s elegantly austere, nineteenth-century, with two doors and six windows symmetrically arranged on the front, and on the side is one of those plaques telling you how far you are from other places in the world: 29 miles from Catskill, 262 from Montreal, and 2,358 from Panama.
It would be a uniquely alert traveler who’d see that plaque and immediately think, “Ah yes, Panama, the Canal Zone, allegedly the birthplace of artist, appropriator, photographer (indeed rephotographer), and all-round provocateur Richard Prince. This must be the building where he keeps his rare-book collection.”
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