American Icons: Untitled Film Stills

Feature

Friday, October 11, 2013

Untitled Film Stills Cindy Sherman American Icons Studio 360

These are snapshots of America's collective unconscious.

Cindy Sherman grew up in the era when old movies filled our late nights. She wrote about going to a dinner party with her parents when she was a child, and ending up in the basement watching Rear Window alone. As an artist in the 1980s, she began taking self-portraits in costumes and settings that called those old black-and-white movies to mind — they were “stills” for films that didn’t exist, but might have. She would change in the back of a van and emerge on the street as an ingénue, a movie star, a soon-to-be murder victim. In a media-saturated age, Untitled Film Stills suggested that Sherman's identity as a woman was constructed from other people’s narratives. They influenced a generation of artists who play with identity as a kind of performance. Photography curator Eva Respini sees her influence much wider than that. “The selfie is not about who you really are. It’s about how you look at best in the camera to your friends, creating a narrative of what you’re doing.”

 

Slideshow: Cindy Sherman's Untitled Film Stills

Untitled Film Stills Cindy Sherman American Icons Studio 360
Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Untitled Film Still 3, 1977
Gelatin silver print
8 x 10 inches 

Untitled Film Stills is a series of 70 photographs that Cindy Sherman captured starting in the late 1970s through the early 1980s. Among her extensive body of work, the Untitled Film Stills is the only series Sherman has titled. While individual stills frequently appear with a number, these numeric titles were not chosen by Sherman. The numbers that accompany each photo are inventory catalog numbers from her gallery that have been widely published to distinguish one still from another. For this reason, and because we refer to these numbers in our feature, we have used the same numeric system here.

Untitled Film Stills Cindy Sherman American Icons Studio 360
Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Untitled Film Still 10, 1978
Gelatin silver print
8 x 10 inches

 

Untitled Film Stills Cindy Sherman American Icons Studio 360
Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Untitled Film Still 16, 1978
Gelatin silver print
10 x 8 inches

Untitled Film Stills Cindy Sherman American Icons Studio 360
Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Untitled Film Still 21, 1978
Gelatin silver print
8 x 10 inches

Often called "the city girl," this still centers Sherman in an ominous cityscape as if she just stepped off the bus from Kansas.

Untitled Film Stills Cindy Sherman American Icons Studio 360
Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Untitled Film Still 24, 1978
Gelatin silver print
8 x 10 inches

Untitled Film Stills Cindy Sherman American Icons Studio 360
Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Untitled Film Still 25, 1978
Gelatin silver print
8 x 10 inches

Untitled Film Stills Cindy Sherman American Icons Studio 360
Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Untitled Film Still 27, 1979
Gelatin silver print
10 x 8 inches

Untitled Film Stills Cindy Sherman American Icons Studio 360
Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Untitled Film Still 34, 1979
Gelatin silver print
10 x 8 inches

Untitled Film Stills Cindy Sherman American Icons Studio 360
Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Untitled Film Still 48, 1979
Gelatin silver print
10 x 8 inches

Untitled Film Stills Cindy Sherman American Icons Studio 360
Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Untitled Film Still 52, 1979
Gelatin silver print
8 x 10 inches

Untitled Film Stills Cindy Sherman American Icons Studio 360
Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Untitled Film Still 54, 1980
Gelatin silver print
8 x 10 inches

Untitled Film Stills Cindy Sherman American Icons Studio 360
Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Untitled Film Still 83, 1980
Gelatin silver print
8 x 10 inches

Helene Winer took this still at Sherman's direction. She remembers thinking, “Ooo, these are going to be the worst ones, the most terrible ones because she’s not doing anything.” Instead, Sherman looks like a glamorous Italian movie star fleeing the paparazzi.

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Guests:

Jim Adkins, Zoe Crosher, Robert Longo, Eva Respini and Helene Winer

Produced by:

Ann Heppermann

Editors:

Julia Barton and David Krasnow

Comments [2]

Linda Thacker from Birmingham, AL

Just listened to this on the radio. I was so intrigued, I had to look it up and listen again! Love it.

Oct. 13 2013 03:53 PM
roses

I haven't gotten a chance to listen to this yet but I'm very intrigued because this is the first in the American Icons series that I don't recognize.

Oct. 13 2013 09:13 AM

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