CINDY SHERMAN (B. 1954)
CINDY SHERMAN (B. 1954)
CINDY SHERMAN (B. 1954)
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On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more Image World: Property from a Private American Collection
CINDY SHERMAN (B. 1954)

Untitled

Details
CINDY SHERMAN (B. 1954)
Untitled
signed, numbered and dated 'Cindy Sherman 6/10 1981' (on the reverse)
chromogenic print
24 x 48 in. (61 x 121.9 cm.)
Executed in 1981. This work is number six from an edition of ten plus two artist's proofs.
Provenance
Metro Pictures, New York
Skarstedt Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Literature
P. Schjeldahl, "Shermanettes," Art in America, March 1982, p. 111 (illustrated).
P. Schjeldahl and M. Danoff, Cindy Sherman, New York, 1984, no. 56 (illustrated).
P. Carlson, et al., Art of our Time: The Saatchi Collection, New York, 1984, p. 8, no. 84 (illustrated).
S. Rogers-Rafferty, Jenny Holzer, Cindy Sherman: Personnae, Cincinnati, 1986, p. 16 (illustrated).
V. Aletti, "Face Off," Village Voice, 7 July 1987.
I. Takano and L. Simmons, Cindy Sherman, Tokyo, 1987, p. 39 (illustrated).
R. Krauss, Cindy Sherman 1975-1993, New York, 1993, pp. 88-89 and 227 (illustrated).
C. Morris, The Essential Cindy Sherman, New York, 1999, pp. 58-59 (illustrated).
R. Krauss, Bachelors, Cambridge, 1999, p. 132 (illustrated).
Jeff Wall, exh. cat., New York, Museum of Modern Art, 2007, p. 32, no. 22 (illustrated).
P. Moorehouse, Cindy Sherman, London, 2014 (illustrated).
G. Allen, Cindy Sherman Centerfold (Untitled #96), New York, 2021, pp. 24-25 (illustrated).
Exhibited
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; Humlebaek, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Cindy Sherman, December 1982-April 1984, no. 56 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
St. Louis Art Museum, Currents 20: Cindy Sherman, March-April 1983, no. 92 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
Akron Art Museum; Philadelphia, Institute of Contemporary Art; Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art; Des Moines Art Center; Baltimore Museum of Art; New York, Broida Museum, Cindy Sherman, June 1984-August 1986 (another example from the edition exhibited).
Madrid, Fundació Caja de Pensiones, Art and Its Double: A New York Perspective, February-March 1987, p. 110, no. 111 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
Phoenix Art Museum, Altered Egos: Samaras, Sherman, Wegman, January-February 1986, n.p. (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art; Boston, Institute of Contemporary Art; Dallas Museum of Art, Cindy Sherman, July 1987-April 1988, p. 18, no. 56 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
New York, International Center of Photography, Portrayals, June-July 1987, p. 35, (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
Oslo, Kunstnernes Hus, Louise Lawler, Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons, January-March 1993.
Tel Aviv Art Museum, Cindy Sherman, June-August 1993 (another example from the edition exhibited).
Manchester City Art Galleries, Possession, September-November 1994 (another example from the edition exhibited).
Museu de Arte Moderno de São Paulo, Cindy Sherman: The Self Which is Not One, June-July 1995 (another example from the edition exhibited).
Shiga, Museum of Modern Art; Marugame Genichiro Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art; Tokyo, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cindy Sherman, July-December 1996, pp. 90-91, no. 37 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
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 from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
Geneva, Centre d'Art Contemporain; Arles, Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie; Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen; Deichtorhallen Hamburg; Galerie Hlavního Mèsta Prahy; Pazo da Cultura de Pontevedra; Luxembourg, Casino Luxembourg; Musée National d'Histoire et d'Art Casin; Ishøoj, Arken Museum of Modern Art; Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art, Veronica's Revenge, February 1997-March 2001, pp. 70-71 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
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; Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, Cindy Sherman: Retrospective, November 1997-January 2000, pp. 104 and 197, pl. 75 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
Göteborg, Hasselblad Center, Cindy Sherman, March-April 2000, p. 10 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
New York, Museum of Modern Art, Contemporary: Inaugural Installation, November 2004-July 2005 (another example from the edition exhibited).
New York, Skarstedt Fine Arts, Cindy Sherman: Centerfolds, 1981, May-June 2003, pp. 8-9 and 49, no. 8 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated on the front cover).
Paris, Jeu de Paume; Kunsthaus Bregenz; Humlebaek, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art; Berlin, Martin-Gropius Bau, Cindy Sherman, May 2006-September 2007, pp. 78-79, 249 and 316 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
New York, Museum of Modern Art, Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography (Part 2), May 2010-April 2011 (another example from the edition exhibited).
Kunstmuseum Bonn and Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Through the Looking Brain, June 2011-January 2012, pp. 162-163 and 225 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
New York, Museum of Modern Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Minneapolis, Walker Art Center; Dallas Museum of Art, Cindy Sherman, February 2012-June 2013, pp. 31, 145 and 243, pl. 96 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
Oslo, Astrup Fearnley Museet; Stockholm, Moderna Museet and Kunsthaus Zu¨rich, Cindy Sherman-Untitled Horrors, May 2013-September 2014, p. 63 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
Los Angeles, The Broad, Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life, June-October 2016, pp. 55 and 154, no. 42 (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
New York, Mnuchin Gallery, Cindy Sherman: Once Upon a Time, 1981-2011, April-June 2017, n.p. (another example from the edition exhibited and illustrated).
Columbus, Wexner Center for the Arts and Ohio State University, Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life, September-December 2017 (another example from the edition exhibited).
London, National Portrait Gallery and Vancouver Art Gallery, Cindy Sherman, June 2019-March 2020, p. 128-129 (illustrated).
Paris, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Cindy Sherman, September 2020-January 2021, p. 96 (illustrated).
Florence, Palazzo Strozzi, American Art 1961-2001, May-August 2021 (another example from the edition exhibited).
Special notice
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Ana Maria Celis
Ana Maria Celis Head of Department

Lot Essay

In the early 1980s, Cindy Sherman was approached by the magazine Artforum to create a series of work to feature in an upcoming issue. Sherman’s friend, the artist David Salle, worked in the art department of a cheap ‘gentleman’s magazine’ and Sherman had seen some of the images of nude women they produced lying around Salle’s studio. Inspired by the format of Artforum, and unsettled by the retrograde nudes, Sherman produced a series of images that challenged notions of female iconography, and although Artforum ultimately decided against publishing the images, they now stand as being amongst Sherman’s great and most important works, and a mainstay of many museum collections of contemporary art.

The Centerfolds marked a turning-point, essentially propelling Sherman’s work to world-wide fame following their exhibition at New York’s Metro Pictures in November of 1981. The following year, she was invited to show her work at Documenta 7 in Kassel, Germany, and at the 40th Venice Biennale. “Commercially and critically, this provocative body of work ushered in a new era in Sherman’s career,” the curator of Sherman’s 2012 retrospective, Eva Respini, has written, “catapulting her to art stardom and engendering a new round of vigorous critical debate” (E. Respini, Cindy Sherman, exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2012, p. 30).

Untitled is among the most chilling and evocative of all the Centerfolds. Executed in 1981, it features the image of a young schoolgirl who crouches upon a scratched and dirty wood floor. Wearing a white blouse and tartan skirt, she is the embodiment of the stereotypical male “schoolgirl fantasy,” but one which has gone horribly wrong. Supporting the weight of her body with splayed fingers, she cowers in a position of fear. Who is this young girl, with wet hair and piercing blue eyes? She is bathed in a penetrating cool white light, almost as if she’s performing on a stage, but Sherman has cropped and fitted the frame to include only her face and contorted body. The image glows with a bright light that heightens the drama of the scene.

“I wanted a man opening up the magazine to suddenly look at it in expectation of something lascivious and then feel like the violator that they would be, looking at this woman who’s perhaps a victim...[although] I didn’t think of them as victims at the time.”Cindy Sherman

The image is permeated with uncomfortable beauty, a symphony of blue tones that accentuate the artist’s wide blue eyes, with the lines upon the wood floor mirroring that of her plaid skirt. It is an image both beautiful and disturbing, and perhaps for this very reason, has featured on the cover of several exhibition catalogues and books about the artist’s work. When the Centerfolds were first exhibited at Metro Pictures in New York on November 7, 1981, they sparked considerable discussion and debate. The artist would later explain: “I wanted a man opening up the magazine to suddenly look at it in expectation of something lascivious and then feel like the violator that they would be, looking at this woman who’s perhaps a victim...[although] I didn’t think of them as victims at the time” (C. Sherman, quoted in G. Allen, Cindy Sherman Centerfold (Untitled #96), New York, Museum of Modern Art, 2021, p. 6).

By subverting the traditional “male gaze” of the nude centerfold, these images instead granted its female heroines more agency and a mind of their own. Acting as both creator and subject, Sherman was able to take control of the narrative and re-fashion it according to her own viewpoint. In doing so, she draws upon the rich, yet complicated, history of women and the construction of gender throughout art history, and in film, TV, magazines, newspapers and literature. Sherman was one of the first artists to tackle this weighty and problematic issue, and her work continues to resonate today despite the forty years since its original creation. She credits the pioneering feminist work of Hannah Wilke, Eleanor Antoni and Janine Anton as an early influence.

By engaging with these pre-existing tropes, Sherman wrestles with the important strategies of visual appropriation that developed in New York in the 1970s and ‘80s. This paralleled the work of her peers, including Richard Prince, Sherrie Levine and Louise Lawler, who later became known as the Pictures Generation. Perhaps because of this, the Centerfolds often contain subtle clues as to their own inherent artificiality as a work of fiction. For example, the theatrical lighting and wide-scale cinematic format of Untitled mimics the look of a vintage Hollywood film. This is an important aspect of the Centerfolds that the art critic Roberta Smith lit upon when reviewing the series in 1981: "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).

As a child growing up in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, Sherman always enjoyed dressing up and makeup and inventing different characters. When she moved to New York after graduating from college in Buffalo in 1977, she famously dressed up to attend art openings and at her part-time job at Artist’s Space. And although her critique of the mass media dovetails neatly with the prevailing postmodern philosophy of the era, notably put forth by Michel Foucault and Guy Debord, her characters can also be seen as a way to circumvent what was expected of her. They are also, at times, zany, irreverent and even fun. “When I was in school I was getting disgusted with the attitude of art being so religious or sacred,” Sherman explained. “So I wanted to make something that people could relate to without having to read a book about it beforehand. ... That’s the reason why I wanted to imitate something out of the culture, and also make fun of the culture as I was doing it” (C. Sherman, quoted in E. Respini, op. cit., 2012, pp. 17-18).

The Centerfolds ultimately brought Sherman much success and fame. In particular, Untitled has become iconic. Of the small edition of 10, at least five belong to major museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Broad, Los Angeles; The Art Institute of Chicago (a gift of the Edlis Neeson Collection); the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo; and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

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