A Century of Art: The Gerald Fineberg Collection


chromogenic print
24 x 48 in. (61 x 122 cm.)
Executed in 1981. This work is the first artist's proof from an edition of ten plus two artist's proofs.
Metro Pictures, New York
Private collection, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2007
R. Fuchs, ed., Exhibition, Museum moderner Kunst Siftung Ludwig Wien, 1994, p. 88 (another example illustrated).
R. Krauss and N. Bryson, Cindy Sherman 1975-1993, New York, 1993, pp. 93 and 227 (another example illustrated).
J. Heyler, E. Schad, and C. Beck, eds., The Broad Collection, Munich, London, New York, 2015, p. 171 (another example illustrated).
D. Païni, ed., Arte y Cine. 120 Años de Intercambios, Barcelona, 2016, pp. 289 and 90 (another example illustrated).
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Cindy Sherman, July-October 1987, p. 18, no. 50 (illustrated, another example exhibited).
New York, Skarstedt Fine Art, Cindy Sherman: Centerfolds 1981, May–June 2003, p. 14 (illustrated, another example exhibited).
Paris, Jeu de Paume; Bregenz ,Kunsthaus Bregenz; Copenhagen, Louisiana Museum for Moderne Kunst; Berlin, Martin Gropius Bau, Cindy Sherman, May 2006–September 2007, pp. 92, 93 and 249 (illustrated, another example exhibited).
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. 149 and 242, pl. 99 (illustrated, another example exhibited).
Oslo, Astrup Fearnley Museet; Stockholm, Moderna Museet; Zurich, Kunsthaus Zurich, Cindy Sherman–Untitled Horrors, May 2013–September 2014, p. 58 (illustrated, another example exhibited).
Los Angeles, The Broad, Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life, June-October 2016, pp. 54 and 154, no. 40 (illustrated, another example exhibited).
Further details
Photo: © Cindy Sherman. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth.

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Lot Essay

One of only twelve images from Sherman's Centerfold series, Untitled is a haunting and visceral work. Created in 1981, the Centerfold series is a captivating exploration of societal expectations, the representation of women in the media and “issues of representation, power, and gender in relationship to the pornographic centerfold” (G. Allen, Cindy Sherman Centerfold (Untitled #96), New York, 2021). Sherman uses her own image to challenge these traditional notions of beauty and identity. The centerfolds feature the artist in various roles, adopting personas that question the objectification of women in glossy magazines. Untitled is a resounding example of Sherman’s pinnacle Centerfold series, ranking amongst Sherman’s most important works.

Untitled is an unusual and ambiguous photograph. The image exudes an eerie sense of cinematic allure; the lighting and composition evoke a glamorous ambiance associated with classic Hollywood, yet the blonde protagonist’s deliberate expression disrupts the conventional narrative. Her expression holds a nuanced complexity, challenging the viewer to question the authenticity of the constructed image. This, along with the deliberate use of artificial lighting and carefully composed mise-en-scéne, heightens the theatricality of the composition, allowing Sherman to emphasize the performative nature of women in media. Crouched on the floor of what looks to be a baren room, the subject is leaning on her left arm for stability and balance. With her right arm wrapped around her leg and gently parted lips, she appears hesitant, evoking a subtle subversion aesthetic. The subject’s gaze, neither entirely inviting nor submissive, adds to this challenging of traditional notions of female portrayal in the media. Sherman’s meticulous attention to detail in costume and setting underscores the deliberate artifice at play. Clothed in a red and white gingham dress, the subject’s untoward innocence is on full display. This juxtaposition is emphasized further through the strategic dress placement between the subject’s legs. The captivating composition of Untitled is a mesmerizing piece, encapsulating Sherman’s ability to blend cinematic aesthetics with a subversive gaze.

Perhaps most well-known from her Untitled Film Stills series, Sherman shares a unique point of view in her Centerfold series. Throughout the series, Sherman uses her signature self-portraiture and artistic prowess to deconstruct societal norms and the commodification of female identity. Sherman’s keen eye for cultural critique shines through as she deconstructs and subverts the conventional narratives imposed on women, offering a thought-provoking commentary on the power dynamics inherent in modern media. She invites contemplation on the fluidity of identity and the influence of media on shaping perceptions of femininity. A stand-out from the series, Untitled remains a timeless exploration of the complexities inherent in the construction of self and the narratives that envelop us, making it an iconic contribution to contemporary art.

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