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Cindy Sherman


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Cindy Sherman’s reputation was built on the success of her Untitled Film Stills, a series of black-and-white photographs from the late 1970s in which the artist depicted herself in various typecast roles of the Hollywood heroine. In that series, she described how the male gaze reduces the female subject to stereotype.

The series Fairy Tales and Disasters of the mid- to late 1980s marked a major shift in Sherman’s self-representation. External appearance became the means by which to explore the contents of an internal world, one influenced by fairytales, myths, and fantasy. If the Untitled Film Stills expressed a sense of anxiety about the lurking male gaze, then the Fairy Tales, such as this one, reveal a monstrous “other” we all carry inside. The harsh, sickly greenish-yellow lighting emphasizes the slobbering lips, decaying teeth, and tense fists of this character. The vulnerable girls and alluring temptresses of the Film Stills are replaced by grotesque figures emerging from some netherworld.
MEDIUM Chromogenic print
DATES 1985
DIMENSIONS frame: 72 × 49 × 2 3/4 in. (182.9 × 124.5 × 7 cm)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Frank L. Babbott Fund and Charles Stewart Smith Memorial Fund
PROVENANCE 1986, purchased from Metro Pictures, New York, NY, by the Brooklyn Museum.
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CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION referred to as #141 by Metro pictures
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Cindy Sherman (American, born 1954). Untitled, 1985. Chromogenic print, frame: 72 × 49 × 2 3/4 in. (182.9 × 124.5 × 7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Frank L. Babbott Fund and Charles Stewart Smith Memorial Fund, 86.36. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 86.36_PS2.jpg)
EDITION Edition: 3/6
IMAGE overall, 86.36_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2008
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