Cindy Sherman - Photographs New York Tuesday, October 2, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Metro Pictures, New York

  • Exhibited

    Cindy Sherman, San Francisco Museum of Art, 14 July - 8 October 2012
    Cindy Sherman, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 26 February - 11 June 2012
    Cindy Sherman Retrospective, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2 November 1997 - 1 February 1998 and traveling to 6 other venues
    Cindy Sherman: The Complete Untitled Film Stills, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 26 June - 2 September 1997
    Directions Cindy Sherman: Film Stills, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C., March-June 1995
    for all, another print exhibited

  • Literature

    Krauss, Cindy Sherman 1975-1993, p. 56
    The Museum of Modern Art, Cindy Sherman: The Complete Untitled Film Stills, p. 125
    The Museum of Modern Art, Cindy Sherman, p. 94
    Rouart, Cindy Sherman, pp. 54, 245

  • Catalogue Essay

    In her first cohesive body of photographic work, Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills poignantly provide a catalogue of seemingly made-to-order female archetypes, all of whom are portrayed, staged and photographed by Sherman. By assuming the different roles—who are largely culled from B-movies, Film Noir, and horror-flicks—Sherman cleverly commented on the clichés women had been traditionally relegated in cinema, arguably the most populist form of entertainment. The subjects are meant to evokesufficient familiarity to lure viewers into deciphering the ‘type’ of woman portrayed and her surrounding narrative.

    The current lot, Untitled Film Still # 81, presents a woman examining herself in what appears to be a bathroom mirror. The door is only half ajar, which leaves viewers feeling slightly voyeuristic, a sense amplified by the woman’s scant clothing. The lack of awareness on the subject’s part furthers the sense of intimacy, leaving viewers to generate a set of assumptions about the woman’s inner thoughts and actions. In doing so, Untitled Film Still # 81 acts as bait to ultimately lead viewers to realize that their initial ‘understanding’ of the role portrayed is more reflective of the social construction of gender roles than their own acumen.

  • 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.

    View More Works


Untitled Film Still # 81

Gelatin silver print.
9 1/2 x 7 1/4 in. (24.1 x 18.4 cm)
Signed, dated '1978' and numbered 3/10 in pencil on the verso.

$70,000 - 90,000 

Sold for $116,500

Contact Specialist
Vanessa Kramer Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs
+ 1 212 940 1245


2 October 2012
New York