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Cindy Sherman

Untitled Film Still #35
1979

Not on view

Date
1979

Classification
Photographs

Medium
Gelatin silver print

Dimensions
Sheet: 10 × 8in. (25.4 × 20.3 cm) Image: 9 7/16 × 6 3/8in. (24 × 16.2 cm)

Accession number
88.50.4

Edition
9/10

Credit line
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Barbara and Eugene Schwartz

Rights and reproductions
©️ Cindy Sherman, courtesy the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

This image is one of Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills, a series that eventually grew to include sixty-nine black-and-white staged photographs of the artist posing as an array of B-grade Hollywood female stereotypes of the 1950s and 1960s. Sherman’s images are crudely printed like the cheap 8 x 10-inch promotional stills used by the film industry, but they portray scenes from movies that never existed. Still, her women feel familiar, embodying mass media and cultural conventions of femininity, sexuality, and fantasy. Here, the protagonist’s intense, off-screen glance—emphasized by means of the image’s low-angle—invokes the dramatic standards of narrative cinema; we recognize in her a frustrated housewife of the sort played iconically by Sophia Loren. This image, like all of Sherman’s film stills, spurs an uncanny sense of recognition, encouraging the viewer to piece together the story behind the scene. “I like characters who are not smiling—they’re sort of blank,” Sherman remarked. “It makes the viewer come up with the narrative.”  




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