Cindy Sherman - Contemporary Art Day Sale London Thursday, February 28, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Metro Pictures, New York

  • Exhibited

    Hamburg, Deichtorhallen; Malmö, Kunsthalle; Lucerne, Kunstmuseum, Cindy Sherman: Photographic Work 1975 – 1995, 25 May, 1995 – 11 February, 1996 (another example exhibited); Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, Femine – Masculine: The Sex of Art, 17 October, 1995 – 8 January, 1996 (another example exhibited)

  • Literature

    R. Krauss, Cindy Sherman 1975-1993, New York, 1993, p. 214 (illustrated); Z. Felix and M. Schwander, eds., Cindy Sherman: Photographic Work 1975 – 1995, Munich, 1995, no. 84 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 1992, Cindy Sherman produced a series of photographs entitled Sex Pictures in which she photographed artificial body parts, fake genitalia and dismembered medical dummies in lewd poses. Sherman was responding to attacks on the freedom of expression by the Christian Fundamentalists and extreme right-wing groups in the United States. The American government had recently passed laws prohibiting the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) from providing grants for art work considered obscene. Sherman’s Sex Pictures, in which for the first time in her a career she does not feature, mock conventional conceptions of obscenity and defied those demanding increased censorship.
    The censorship issue is important. I definitely acknowledged the fact that I was influenced not only by Jeff Koons's show (Made in Heaven at Sonnabend Gallery, NewYork, 1991) but by the whole NEA censorship problem. Since I really don't expect people to buy my art anyway, and because I don't have to worry about funding or being censored at this point, I thought I might as well really try to pull out all the stops and just make something that directly deals with sexuality and censorship without compromising my values… I am always surprised when I read or hear somebody say that they are X-rated or pornographic because they are all obvious plastic parts. One review said I used all these sex toys, such as dildos. There weren't any dildos in the photographs. They were just medical body parts that weren't made for sex…They allude to pornography or X-rated photos. But it's definitely not like that at all… I would hope that these images would make people confront their own feelings about sex, pornography, or erotic images and their own bodies. (Cindy Sherman in conversation withTherese Lichtenstein for the Journal on Contemporary Art)

  • 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 #253



193 x 130 cm. (76 x 51.2 in).

This work is from an edition of six.

£30,000 - 40,000 

Sold for £36,500

Contemporary Art Day Sale

29 Feb 2008, 2pm