Cindy Sherman - New Now New York Wednesday, September 26, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Metro Pictures, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    New York, Metro Pictures, Cindy Sherman, January 6 - January 27, 1990 (another example exhibited)
    New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Rose is a Rose is a Rose: Gender Performance in Photography, January 17 - April 27, 1997, p. 84 (another example exhibited and illustrated)
    New York, Skarstedt Gallery, Cindy Sherman: History Portraits, November 8 - December 20, 2008 (another example exhibited)
    Roslyn Harbor, Nassau County Museum of Art, Long Island Collections, January 18 - March 15, 2009 (another example exhibited)
    New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Cindy Sherman, February 26 - June 11, 2012, no. 139, p. 184 (another example exhibited and illustrated)
    Los Angeles, The Broad, Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life, June 11 - October 2, 2016, p. 92 (another example exhibited and illustrated)

  • Literature

    Arthur C. Danto, Cindy Sherman: History Portraits, Munich, 1991, no. 28 (another example illustrated)
    Rosalind E. Krauss, Cindy Sherman, 1975 - 1993, New York, 1993, p. 176 (another example illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Untitled #201 from 1989 is a superb example of Sherman’s series History Portraits (1988-90), in which she re-imagines the genre of Old Master portraiture within her contemporary, photographic context. Questioning the authenticity of the past as it shifts with time, Untitled #201 offers a persuasive and provocative exploration into the construction of identity, representation and the self. By dressing up as figures from history and staging a portrait, the artist seamlessly fuses replication and originality, while questioning the security of identity. Untitled #201 subsumes the viewer in a complex and contradictory web of fantasy and reality. Here the disguise allows the photograph to feel simultaneously contemporary and traditional as Sherman assumes the role of both model and artist. By becoming both, Sherman brings a performative element to her photographs. The theatrical overtones of the composition mingle with Sherman’s ability to tell an engaging and humorous story while never fully revealing who she is meant to be impersonating.

    Included in the initial exhibition of her History Portraits at Metro Pictures in New York City in 1990, Untitled #201, is a seminal example of the series. Sherman does not recreate history with these works per se, but rather represents, through her own inclusion, and the juxtaposition of the contemporary and the historical, the fading memory that is the past. Sherman diminishes the traditional linearity and “factuality” of the photographic medium. Performative and static; historical and contemporary; masculine and feminine; satirical and sincere – Sherman layers dichotomies one upon each other in such as a way as to create a new reality, one squarely contained within the bounds of works such as Untitled #201

  • 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 #201

chromogenic print, in artist's frame
59 x 42 in. (149.9 x 106.7 cm.)
Executed in 1989, this work is number 4 from an edition of 6.

$150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for $187,500

Contact Specialist
Sam Mansour
Associate Specialist, Head of New Now Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1219
[email protected]

New Now

New York Auction 26 September 2018