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PROPERTY OF AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE SWISS COLLECTOR

Cindy Sherman
UNTITLED FILM STILL #63
JUMP TO LOT
34

PROPERTY OF AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE SWISS COLLECTOR

Cindy Sherman
UNTITLED FILM STILL #63
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
London

Cindy Sherman
B. 1954
UNTITLED FILM STILL #63
signed, dated 1980 and numbered 1/3 on the reverse
gelatin silver print
76.2 by 101.6 cm. 30 by 40 in.
Executed in 1980, this work is number 1 from an edition of 3, plus 1 artist's proof.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Metro Pictures, New York

Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York

Private Collection

Christie's, New York, 18 May 2001, Lot 532

Private Collection, United States

Sotheby's, New York, 9 March 2010, Lot 89

Acquired from the above by the present owner

Exhibited

New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Cindy Sherman, July - October 1987, n.p., no. 37, illustrated (edition no. unknown, smaller edition)

Washington D.C., Smithsonian Institution, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Cindy Sherman: Film Stills, March - June 1995, n.p., no. 63, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans-van Beuningen; Madrid, Palacio de Velázquez, Parque del Retiro Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia; Bilbao, Sala de Exposiciones Rekalde; and Baden-Baden, Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Cindy Sherman, March 1996 - March 1997, n.p., no. 27, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

New York, Museum of Modern Art, Cindy Sherman: The Complete Untitled Film Stills, June - September 1997 (another example from the edition)

Los Angeles, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art; Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Prague, Galerie Rudolfinum; London, Barbican Art Gallery; Bordeaux, CAPC Musée d'Art Contemporain de Bordeaux; Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia; and Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, Cindy Sherman: Retrospective, November 1997 - January 2000, p. 95, no. 69, illustrated (edition no. unknown, smaller edition)

Paris, Jeu de Paume; Bregenz, Kunsthaus Bregenz; Humlebaek, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art; and Berlin, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Cindy Sherman, May 2006 - September 2007, n.p., illustrated (edition no. unknown)

New York, Museum of Modern Art; San Francisco, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Minneapolis, Walker Art Center; Dallas, Dallas Museum of Art, Cindy Sherman, February 2012 - June 2013, p. 112, no. 57, illustrated (another example from the edition)

Literature

Exh. Cat., Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Cindy Sherman, December 1982, n.p., no. 37, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Arthur Danto, Cindy Sherman: Untitled Film Stills, Munich 1990, n.p., no. 39, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Rosalind Krauss, Cindy Sherman 1975-1993, New York 1993, p. 38, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

David Frankel, Ed., Cindy Sherman: The Complete Untitled Film Stills, New York 2003, p. 113, illustrated (edition no. unknown)

Catalogue Note

In an image-saturated era where an escape from photographic media has become virtually impossible, the seductive power of Cindy Sherman’s iconic Untitled Film Stills is forcefully clear. These snapshots of what easily could be blockbuster Hollywood movies convey a strong sense of nostalgia, fantasy, and poignancy; and yet they simultaneously reveal deeply serious issues concerning gendered identity politics and power relations. It is this very pointed character trait that makes Sherman’s work so extremely important. As Eva Respini has remarked, the Untitled Film Stills are “arguably one of the most significant bodies of work made in the Twentieth Century and thoroughly canonized by art historians, curators, and critics” (Eva Respini in: Exh. Cat., New York, Museum of Modern Art, Cindy Sherman, 2012, p. 18). Initiated in the Autumn of 1977 and created over a three year period, this series of seventy pseudo-promotional film stills mine a litany of clichéd female tropes as can readily be identified across the history of Hollywood’s Golden Age: from blonde bombshell, career girl, vamp, housewife, and girl on the run, these works present a catalogue of sanctioned and idealised femininity. In Untitled Film Still #63 we are confronted with Sherman’s ‘girl on the run’: positioned towards the edge of the camera’s frame, as if she had just walked into shot, this work is a striking example from this formative series. Located on a staircase featuring an architectonic staccato of imposing concrete columns, Cindy Sherman has pictured herself in an intimate moment of concerned contemplation. As she has explained: “Some of the women in the outdoor shots could be alone or being watched or followed – the shots I would choose were always the ones in-between the action. These women are on their way to wherever the action is (or to their doom)… or have just come from a confrontation (or a tryst)” (Cindy Sherman cited in: ibid., p. 18).

Emerging from the New York art scene of the late 1970s, Sherman’s work reflects the legacy of 1960s Pop art and its obsession with celebrity and fame. Where this earlier generation was interested in the representation of its celebrity icons, Sherman – and indeed the Pictures Generation as a whole – has instead demonstrated a more fundamental interest in the politics of representation. A key concept for this influential generation of appropriation artists was an understanding of photography as an active medium that informs the way we understand the world. In their work the assumed passive objectivity of photography was systematically unpacked. Where Richard Prince (who was her boyfriend around that time) exposed the myth-making power of advertising by re-photographing its imagery, Sherman explored the stereotypes of Hollywood films by enacting imaginary movie scenes in convincing set-ups that emphasised the way women were portrayed in American cinema.

Like her contemporaries, Sherman’s work uses the seductive aesthetics of popular culture to expose its darker undercurrent. Whilst the viewer can instantly engage with the recognisable tropes on view in the Untitled Film Stills, these works simultaneously highlight the voyeuristic nature of cinema. Adopting a variety of guises that recall the visual vocabulary of Alfred Hitchcock, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Billy Wilder, the series marks the inception of Sherman’s career-long investigation into the mass media’s proliferation of gender-bound stereotypes; her's is an artistic practice that has relentlessly foregrounded the political, social, and gendered constructions that seditiously lie beneath the surface of photographic and cinematic artifice. Sherman’s work not only engages with the way in which the contemporary image-culture shapes our aspirations and desires, but also demonstrates the slippage between reality and self-representation. Indeed, more than three decades after the influential series of film stills was begun, their importance is becoming increasingly evident as the notion of self-representation takes on a bigger role in our daily lives. Herein, Sherman’s pioneering oeuvre has taken on an extraordinary prescience and expanded significance from the perspective of the present.

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

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London