Friday, July 27, 2012

Cindy Sherman at SFMOMA

This week I visited the Cindy Sherman retrospective at the SFMOMA. The show is arranged somewhat chronologically, but my museum companion & I inadvertently started at the wrong end, in a room of larger-than-life photographs of Ms. Sherman posing as women with too much money. The pictures, with their fancy settings & gilt frames, are mocking & cynical. It was not clear to me if the images are actually digital constructions.

I liked the staging of a room of photographs showing Ms. Sherman posing as paintings by old masters. She does not try to disguise her prosthetics & plastic props, so the images look like glib & insincere homages. A series of pictures in a long horizontal format look convincingly like film stills. The wall-sized Untitled #512 (2011) has the surface texture of a painting on canvas, which I assume was done with a digital filter. The exhibit starts with the complete Untitled Film Stills. These 70 impassively staged black & white photos are hung close together on 3 walls. The show covers 40 decades, & the most obvious progression is that the pieces keep getting larger. Vigilant museum guards stopped people from taking photographs in every room.

Tapestry by Cragie Horsfield, 07.26.2012 Cragie Horsefield, Via Gianturoc, Naples, February 2010 (2011 Tapestry) on display at SFMOMA.In another part of the museum, I enjoyed looking at Craigie Horsfield's Via Gianturco, Naples, February 2010 (2011), an enormous tapestry showing a roiling crush of men at some unseen event. Though the image looks photographic, the faces are defined by soft shadows which give them the look of a Renaissance painting. The work is a spectacle.

§  Cindy Sherman
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
July 14 - October 08, 2012

§ Stage Presence: Theatricality in Art and Media
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
July 14 - October 08, 2012

§ Photo Credit: Cindy Sherman, Untitled #463, 2007-08; chromogenic color print; 68 5/8 x 6" (174.2 x 182.9 cm); courtesy the artist and Metro Pictures, New York; © 2012 Cindy Sherman


y2k said...

I also started on the wrong end but quickly realized my error. Somehow I thought the show would be bigger (w/more photographs).

Axel Feldheim said...

Perhaps it does not matter which end you start from. According to an SF MOMA press release, there are over 150 photos, though about half are all in that one early room. Most of the photos are really large, so perhaps there were space constraints.