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Large photograph of a white man on patterned blue wallpaper
Large photograph of a white man on patterned blue wallpaper

Installation view Buck Ellison: Little Brother, Luhring Augustine, New York (March 17 – April 29, 2023). (© Buck Ellison; Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York. Photo: Farzad Owrang)

Erik Prince is hot.

Yes, I mean that Erik Prince, Blackwater founder, guru of mercenary contractors committing war crimes during the War on Terror largely outside the bounds of human rights laws, and more recently, Trump buddy who allowed Project Veritas goons to scamper all over his Wyoming ranch. The Erik Prince who never met a weapon he didn’t want to deal or a state security contract he didn’t want to sign. The only—and youngest—son in the Prince dynasty, whose big daddy Edgar founded the Michigan-based manufacturing Prince Corporation, as well as co-founded the fundamentalist pearl-clutchers Family Research Council, and whose older sister is former Secretary of Education whacko and mother of ArtPrize founder, Betsy DeVos.

I can promise that Erik Prince’s status as an American sex symbol is not a thought that ever crossed my mind before visiting Buck Ellison’s current exhibition Little Brother at Chelsea’s Luhring Augustine. All it took was one glimpse of Erik—or at least the model, Noah Grant, playing him—languishing on a Persian rug, wearing a denim shirt branded SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation), a company whose website offers, among other tech “solutions,” “military intelligence solutions,” with his fingers set in Carl Von Clausewitz’s On War. And now I have a thing for Erik Prince. The shots of Erik lathering himself up in an outdoor shower in Ellison’s nearby film didn’t hurt either. Mmm…international arms dealing and civilian massacres in Iraq mean nothing to me, baby. Let’s sign some billion-dollar defense contracts and escape prosecution!

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