Audio: Cindy Sherman, Untitled #92
Cindy Sherman (B. 1954)
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Cindy Sherman (B. 1954)

Untitled #92

Cindy Sherman (B. 1954)
Untitled #92
signed, numbered and dated 'Cindy Sherman 9/10 1981' (on the reverse)
color coupler print
24 x 48 in. (71.1 x 121.9 cm.)
Executed in 1981. This work is number nine from an edition of ten.
Metro Pictures, New York
Private collection, Sharon
Anon. sale; Christie's New York, 10 November 1993, lot 271
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
P. Schjeldahl, "Shermanettes," Art in America vol. 70, no. 3, March 1982, p. 111 (another example illustrated).
P. Schjeldahl and I.M. Danoff, Cindy Sherman, New York, 1984, no. 56 (another example illustrated in color).
P. Carlson, L. Cooke, H. Kramer. K. Levin, M. Rosenthal and P. Tuchman, Art of our Time: The Saatchi Collection, New York, 1984, p. 8, no. 84 (another example illustrated in color).
L. Takano, and L. Simmons, Cindy Sherman, Tokyo, 1987, p. 39 (another example illustrated in color).
S. Rogers-Rafferty and J.Holzer, Cindy Sherman: Personnae, Cincinnati, 1986, pp. 16 and 27 (another example illustrated).
R. Krauss, Cindy Sherman 1975-1993, New York, 1993, pp. 88-89 and 227 (another example illustrated in color).
C. Morris, The Essential Cindy Sherman, New York, 1999, pp. 58-59 (another example illustrated in color).
R. Krauss, Bachelors, Cambridge, 1999, p. 132 (another example illustrated).
Jeff Wall, exh. cat., New York, Museum of Modern Art, 2007, p. 32, no. 22 (another example illustrated in color).
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum; Ghent, Gewad; Bristol, Watershed Gallery; Highfield, University of Southampton, John Hansard Gallery; Erlangen, Palais Stutterheim; West Berlin, Haus am Waldsee; Geneva, Centre d'Art Contemporain; Copenhagen, Sonja Henie-Niels Onstadt Foundation and Humlebaek, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Cindy Sherman, December 1982-April 1984, no. 56 (another example exhibited and illustrated in color).
St. Louis Art Museum, Currents 20: Cindy Sherman, March-April 1983, no. 92 (another example exhibited and illustrated in color).
Akron Art Museum; Philadelphia, Institute of Contemporary Art; Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art; Des Moines Art Center; Baltimore Museum of Art and New York, Broida Museum, Cindy Sherman, June 1984-August 1986 (another example exhibited).
Phoenix Art Museum, Altered Egos: Samaras, Sherman, Wegman, January-February 1986, n.p. (another example exhibited and illustrated in color).
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art; Boston, Institute of Contemporary Art and Dallas Museum of Art, Cindy Sherman, July 1987- April 1988, p. 18, no. 56 (another example exhibited and illustrated in color).
New York, International Center of Photography, Portrayals, June- July 1987, p. 35 (illustrated in color).
Tel Aviv Art Museum; Cindy Sherman, June-August 1993 (another example exhibited).
Manchester City Art Galleries, Possession, September-November 1994 (another example exhibited).
Museu de Arte Moderna de Sao Pâulo, Cindy Sherman: The Self Which is Not One, June-July 1995 (another example exhibited).
Shiga, Museum of Modern Art; Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art and Tokyo, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cindy Sherman, July-December 1996, pp. 90-91, no. 37 (another example exhibited and illustrated in color).
Caracas, Museo de Bellas Artes, Cindy Sherman: Una Seleción de las Colleciones de la Eli Broad Family Foundation, May-June 1997, pp. 26-27 and 45 (another example exhibited and illustrated in color).
Geneva, Centre d'Art Contemporain; Arles, Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie; Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen; Hamburg, Deichtorhallen; Galerie Hlavního Mèsta Prahy; Pazo da Cultura de Pontevedra; Luxembourg, Casino Luxembourg and Musée National d'Histoire et d'Art Casin; Ishøoj, Arken Museum of Modern Art and Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art, Veronica's Revenge, February 1997-March 2001, pp. 70-71 (another example exhibited and illustrated in color).
Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art; Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art; Prague, Galerie Rudolfinum; London, Barbican Art Gallery; Bordeaux, Musée d'art Contemporain de Bordeaux; Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art and Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, Cindy Sherman: Retrospective, September 1997-January 2000, pp. 104 and 197, pl. 75 (another example exhibited and illustrated in color).
Göteborg, Hasselblad Center, Cindy Sherman, April 2000, p. 10 (another example exhibited and illustrated in color).
New York, Skarstedt Fine Art, Cindy Sherman Centerfolds, May- June 2003, pp. 8-9 and 49, no. 8 (another example exhibited and illustrated in color and on the cover).
Paris, Jeu de Paume; Kunsthaus Bregenz; Humlebaek, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and Berlin, Martin-Gropius Bau; Cindy Sherman, May 2006 -September 2007, pp. 78-79, 249, and 316 (another example exhibited and illustrated in color).
Kunstmuseum Bonn and Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Through the Looking Brain, June 2011-January 2012, pp. 162-163 and 225 (illustrated in color).
New York, Museum of Modern Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Minneapolis, Walker Art Center and Dallas Museum of Art, Cindy Sherman, February 2012- June 2013, pp. 31, 145 and 243, pl. 96 (another example exhibited and illustrated in color).

Lot Essay

A familiar scene with no certain or definable source, Cindy Sherman's Untitled #92 emerges as one of the most affecting photographs in the artist's oeuvre. Expressing the same terror as Tippi Hedren in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, or Janet Leigh in Psycho, Untitled #92 continues Sherman's epic saga of,as Danto coined in his in his introduction to the Film Stills, "The Girl in Trouble." Backed into a corner, Sherman's character is forcibly pushed to the floor, her fingers tightly and tensely holding her fear-ridden body in position, the young girl's eyes are simultaneously alarmed, anxious, and saddened; the terror is real. Cropped tightly around the victim, the ominous presence of the assailant is concealed from the viewer. With the fate of the Girl in Trouble unknown, Untitled #92 presents a very real and heightened sense of danger and suspense.
An evocative and outstanding example from Sherman's highly acclaimed Centerfolds series, the elongated horizontal format was inspired by the open spread of the magazine, Cindy Sherman's Centerfolds respond to the popular photo spreads made famous in the pages of Playboy magazine Designed to give maximum exposure to the female form in these top-shelf publications, the centerfold was the prime showground where women were looked at and admired. Untitled #92 reclaims this format for Sherman's own aesthetic use. Performing the role of a variety of emotionally suggestive, but ambivalently distanced teens, Sherman seizes back the layout where women were traditionally sexualized. The dramatically cropped corporeal presence of the Centerfolds is further sensationalized by the artist's use of eerily tinted colored gels and lights.

Although Sherman designed these images to resemble quick snapshots of a teenager's life, she heavily choreographed, acted in, and staged them herself. She is both the subject and executor of these images, and she takes the utmost care in both, as she develops her various guises and produces each photograph. She will dress the set, produce the costumes, design the lighting and finally execute the photograph entirely by herself, in her solitary world, without the use of assistants. By controlling every aspect of the image's production, she dispels the long-held belief that photography is the medium of "truth". She exposes it as being as manipulative as any other artistic medium, as the critic Roberta Smith pointed out when the Centerfolds made their debut in 1981. "The psychological weight of the work is so direct that at times it seems to free the viewer to see very clearly the formal manipulations which are at its source. Sherman makes you understand the components of photography with a particular bluntness which is one of her trademarks. The roles of color, light, cropping, space, eye contact (or lack of it) are continually stated and restated and we read them just as we do details of clothing, hairdo, posture, flooring. Despite all this the effect is not simply didactic; everything is both laid out and convincingly, ingenuously synthesized." (R. Smith, "Review: Cindy Sherman," Village Voice, New York, November 18, 1981).
Wrought with subdued emotional intensity, Untitled #92 proposes the most powerful aspects of Sherman's acclaimed series that simultaneously imparts a sense of vulnerable inward consciousness and anticipates that something is about to happen. Sherman achieves the series' striking artistry and emotional poignancy through her unique ability to create a seamless whole. She acts as a one-woman studio--as director, actor, photographer, costumer, set designer, lighting specialist, and make-up artist--expertly executing every portion of her creative concept. Each part works in unison and perfectly complements the others, creating a product that embodies her creative program without sacrificing any other aspects.
Originally commissioned by Ingrid Sischy, then editor of Artforum, the Centerfolds were ultimately never published in the magazine. Sischy feared that the pictures would be misunderstood just as Lynda Benglis had been in her infamous nude advertisement in the November 1974 issue. Notwithstanding, Sherman's Centerfold series did court controversy, becoming a source of intense debate and dividing critics over its implied social commentary. Contemporary critic Laura Mulvey understood the photograph as a comment on the "phallic male gaze" and the "fetishization" of women. As she explained, "[the Centerfolds] announce themselves as photographs and, as in a pinup, the model's eroticism, and her pose, are directed towards the camera, and ultimately towards the spectator" (L. Mulvey quoted in Cindy Sherman,, Museum of Modern Art, New York 2012, p. 31).
Today, the twelve resulting images are among the most highly acclaimed portraits in Sherman's oeuvre. Exhibited the same year, Janelle Reiring of Metro Pictures Gallery notes, "It was her second show with us--with the Centerfolds series from 1981--that seemed to change everything" (J. Reiring quoted in S.P. Hanson, "Art Dossier: Cindy Sherman," Art+Auction, February 2012). Of the exhibition, art critic Peter Schjeldahl recalls his excitement, "I immediately called the two publications I wrote for only to discover that they had already assigned reviews. I had to write something that day, and it turned out to be a check" (P. Schjeldahl quoted in C. Vogel, "Cindy Sherman Unmasked," The New York Times, February 16, 2012). Following the exhibition, Sherman was invited to participate both in Documenta VII and the Venice Biennale. The Centerfolds series became the catalyst that propelled Sherman's career from the insightfully spirited bourgeoning artist behind the Untitled Film Stills to the contemporary master we know today.

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