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Cindy Sherman: The Complete Untitled Film Stills

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Overview

Cindy Sherman's Untitled Film Stills, a series of black-and-white photographs created between 1977 and 1980, is widely seen as one of the most original and influential achievements in recent art. Witty, provocative, and searching, this lively catalogue of female roles inspired by the movies touches a vital nerve in our culture. Sherman plays and stages all of the roles herself, with an acute eye for costume, setting, and pose - and with uncanny poise. As Andy Warhol said, "She's good enough to be a real actress."

In 1995 The Museum of Modern Art purchased the entire series from the artist, preserving the work in its entirety.

This book marks the first time that the entire series has been published as a unified work. Sherman has arranged the sequence of the pictures, and has written a personal essay about their making. To the original sixty-nine Film Stills she has also added a seventieth, from a roll of film that for some years was lost.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sherman's provocative and much-discussed Untitled Film Stills series, created between 1977 and 1980, is collected for the first time in this 9.5" x 11.25" volume from MoMA, which purchased the entire set of 69 shots in 1995. Sherman's mysterious and perplexing "portraits" should not really be called "self," since Sherman appears solely in the guises of others, donning the clothing, wigs and makeup of various female '50s and '60s film "types" (the forgotten wife, the boozy hussy, the working girl, etc.) and elevating the art of playing dress-up to a whole new level. In her disarmingly honest introduction to the book, Sherman says of the European film stars like Simone Signoret, Sophia Loren or Jeanne Moreau, from whom she drew her inspiration, "What I was interested in was when they were almost expressionless," a rare occurrence in posed and artificial publicity shots. But while Sherman's photographs may initially resemble film stills, their grainy, dodgy quality (Sherman says, "I didn't care much about the print quality; the photographs were supposed to look like they cost fifty cents"); her disturbingly blank expression and chameleon-like ability to disappear into character; and the backgrounds of empty New York City streets and rundown lofts (in some ways, the photos act as a historical archive of a time when a less-gentrified New York functioned as a giant playground for artists) all conspire to give necessary dissonance to the myths Sherman explores. Sherman began making the series at the age of 23, and it soon established her as a major voice in the contemporary art scene, adding a much-needed female presence in what is more often than not a hyper-macho field. In the process of questioning the portrayal of women, Sherman questioned the art of portraiture itself and its uneasy place in 20th-century American society, opening a different path on which to proceed. (Dec.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870705076
  • Publisher: The Museum of Modern Art
  • Publication date: 10/2/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 164
  • Sales rank: 316,675
  • Product dimensions: 9.74 (w) x 10.82 (h) x 0.81 (d)

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