Cindy Sherman - Contemporary Art Part I New York Wednesday, May 11, 2011 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Linda Cathcart Gallery, Santa Monica

  • Exhibited

    New York, Museum of Modern Art, Cindy Sherman: The Complete Untitled Film Stills, June 26 – September 2, 1997, p. 51
    (another example exhibited); Hamburg, Deichtorhallen; Konsthall Malmö and Kunstmuseum Lucerne, Cindy Sherman: Photographic Work, 1975-1995, May 25, 1995 – February 11, 1996 (another example exhibited); Los Angeles, The Museum of Contemporary Art; Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art; Prague, Galerie Rudolfinum; London, Barbican Art Gallery; Bordeaux, Musée d’art Contemporain; Syndey, Museum of Contemporary Art and Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, Cindy Sherman Retrospective, November 2, 1997 – January 2, 2000 (another example exhibited)

  • Literature

    P. Galassi, Cindy Sherman: the Complete Untitled Film Stills, New York, 2003, p. 51
    (another example illustrated); P. Schjeldahl and I. M. Danoff, Cindy Sherman, New York, 1984, p. 8 (another example illustrated); P. Schjeldahl and E. Barent, Cindy Sherman, 3. erweiterte Auflage, Munich, 1987, p. 8
    (another example illustrated); R. Krauss, Cindy Sherman 1975-1993, New York, 1993, pp. 50-51 (another example illustrated); Z. Felix and M. Schwander, Cindy Sherman Photographic Work 1975-1995, Munich, 1995, no. 20 (another example illustrated); A. Cruz, E. Smith and A. Jones, Cindy Sherman Retrospective, New York and London, 1997, p. 59, no. 9 (another example illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    I was vulnerable by being this other character. We’re all products of what we want to project to the world. Even people who don’t spend any time, or think they don’t, on preparing themselves for the world out there — I think that ultimately they have for their whole lives groomed themselves to be a certain way, to present a face to the world.


    (Cindy Sherman on the Untitled Film Stills)

    Cindy Sherman’s Film Stills series, made between 1977 and 1980, comprised the most formative and groundbreaking work of her early career. Much of the series aims to portray one fictional actress, who Sherman herself embodies, at varying stages of a lengthy career. The current lot, Untitled Film Still #9, is a gelatin silver print from 1978, one in which Sherman intentionally used developing techniques to slightly alter the film, lending the images an antiqued quality of ready made nostalgia. The series, and the present lot in particular, vividly illustrate a side of Sherman’s relationship to feminism: as the viewer invents a narrative for the subject of the photograph, so does society invent and attempt to prescribe the roles of its women. In one manner, Sherman’s art is curative; with her careful establishment of her many artistic incarnations, it seems as though “being someone is no longer a permanent arrangement” (W. Januszczak, “Cindy Sherman: I’m Every Woman”, London Times, April 12, 2009).

    In Sherman’s black and white piece, we see her actress subject just right of center, lounging contraposto in a beach in a frilled vintage bathing suit. The Long Island deck, incidentally at Robert Longo’s parents’ beach house, reflects the day’s warm sunlight, as, we presume, the beach’s waves break against the sands in the distance. We find Sherman’s actress in a middle place in her career, perhaps stagnating slightly. Her face reveals a subtle anxiety in the midst of such a serene environment; is the tension due to the character she inhabits or her professional misgivings? Either way, Sherman forgoes giving us a narrative, instead allowing us to create our own vision of the woman in front of the camera.

  • Artist Biography

    Cindy Sherman

    American • 1954

    Seminal to the Pictures Generation as well as contemporary photography and performance art, Cindy Sherman is a powerhouse art practitioner.  Wily and beguiling, Sherman's signature mode of art making involves transforming herself into a litany of characters, historical and fictional, that cross the lines of gender and culture. She startled contemporary art when, in 1977, she published a series of untitled film stills.

    Through mise-en-scène​ and movie-like make-up and costume, Sherman treats each photograph as a portrait, though never one of herself. She embodies her characters even if only for the image itself. Presenting subversion through mimicry, against tableaus of mass media and image-based messages of pop culture, Sherman takes on both art history and the art world.

    Though a shape-shifter, Sherman has become an art world celebrity in her own right. The subject of solo retrospectives across the world, including a blockbuster showing at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and a frequent exhibitor at the Venice Biennale among other biennials, Sherman holds an inextricable place in contemporary art history.

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Untitled Film Still #9

Gelatin silver print.
30 x 40 in. (76.2 x 101.6 cm.)
Signed, titled and dated “Cindy Sherman 1978 MP #9” and numbered of three on the reverse. Edition one of three.

$400,000 - 600,000 

Contemporary Art Part I

12 May 2011
New York