Cindy Sherman: The Complete Untitled Film Stills 2013
Other artists had drawn upon popular culture but Sherman's strategy was new. For her the pop-culture image was not a subject (as it had been for Walker Evans) or raw material (as it had been for Andy Warhol) but a whole artistic vocabulary, ready-made. Her film stills look and function just like the real ones--those 8 x 10 glossies designed to lure us into a drama we find all the more compelling because we know it isn't real. In the Untitled Film Stills there are no Cleopatras, no ladies on trains, no women of a certain age. There are, of course, no men. The 69 solitary heroines map a particular constellation of fictional femininity that took hold in postwar America--the period of Sherman's youth and the starting point for our contemporary mythology. In finding a form for her own sensibility, Sherman touched a sensitive nerve in the culture at large. Although most of the characters are invented, we sense right away that we already know them. That twinge of instant recognition is what makes the series tick and it arises from Cindy Sherman's uncanny poise. There is no wink at the viewer, no open irony, no camp.
In 1995, The Museum of Modern Art purchased the series from the artist, preserving the work in its entirety. This book marks the first time that the complete series will be published as a unified work, with Sherman herself arranging the pictures in sequence.
Cindy Sherman is a ground-breaking American photographer, born in 1954. She began her "Film Stills" series at the age of 23, gaining early recognition, and has followed it with remarkable experiments in color photography. Her art has won her wide recognition and praise, and been collected and exhibited by major museums throughout the world since 1980. A major retrospective exhibition of her work was shown at The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Dallas Museum of Art. Sherman is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" award and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. She is represented by Metro Pictures gallery in New York.
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