Cindy Sherman - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Thursday, November 15, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Metro Pictures, New York

  • Exhibited

    New York, Metro Pictures, Cindy Sherman, November 15 - December 23, 2008 (another example exhibited)
    Rome, Gagosian Gallery, Cindy Sherman, June 7 – October 8, 2009 (another example exhibited)
    New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Cindy Sherman, February 26 – June 11, 2012 (another example exhibited)

  • Literature

    E. Respini, Cindy Sherman, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, 2012, pl. 171, p. 226 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    I think they are the most realistic characters I have done. I completely empathized with them. They could be me. That’s what was really scary, how easy it was to make myself look like that.

    (Cindy Sherman, in Cindy Sherman, New York, Gagosian Gallery, 2009).

    The present lot, Untitled #467, 2008, is from Cindy Sherman’s recent Society Portraits series, in which she continues and expands her interest in costume, identity, and social construction by appearing as various incarnations of wealthy middle-aged American women. In these photographs, Sherman’s women are past their physical prime, but at the height of their social powers. Cloaked and masked with an armor of pride and wealth, there is an unrelenting honesty in Sherman’s exposé. Through their enlarged scale, mirroring the format of Renaissance commissioned portraits, we are able to scrutinize their attire, coiffed friseurs, and densely applied makeup. At first glance they project a veneer of leisure and success, but Sherman’s large format reveals their every imperfection.

    The protagonist of Untitled #467, 2008, wears a white sequin evening skirt, which, while lavishly rendered, reveals her aging body. Her top is a brown sleeveless camisole, decorated with long gold chains, which call attention to the artificiality of her bosom. Her fingernails radiate an eccentric attention to detail in their long, square cut and her hair is curled and rolled to sit perfectly like a crown on her head. Her lips and cheeks are severely rouged, as she stands in what she believes is her most flattering pose.
    All the while a backdrop of kaleidoscopic purples cascades fluidly behind her. She seems transported back to the dancehalls of her disco-era prime, lending the portrait an air of nostalgia. The background is so disparate from the character in the foreground that it seems otherworldly, undermining the regality and severity of the subject’s pose. This format appears to be a cousin of the over-composed glamour portraits of suburbia, their sitters oblivious to their kitschy portrayals. This disparate juxtaposition of figure and background highlights not only Sherman’s new technique of layered digital photography, but also highlights the layered artifice of the character she portrays.

  • 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 #467

Chromogenic color print, in artist’s frame
95 1/2 x 65 1/2 in. (228.6 x 152.4 cm)
Signed, numbered, and dated “Cindy Sherman, 2006, 6/6” on a label affixed to the reverse of the backing board. This work is number six from an edition of six.

$300,000 - 500,000 

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

15 November 2012
New York