March 3, 2012


A complete contrast or just the other side of the coin to Gene’s society swans is Cindy Sherman’s 2008 ground breaking large scale portraits of society women. Sherman transformed herself into a cast of aging society matrons and as some critics have called them “frustrated socialites”.  Her alarming and eerily provocative portraits conjure up real life society ladies from Brooke Astor to the Duchess of Alba – however the latter - even for Sherman would seem too exaggerated to try any type of recreation. One wonders what Sherman must think about seeing socialites like Jocelyn Wildenstein  and the Duchess of Alba who have purposely distorted themselves – how could even someone like Sherman make all that fake look like real fake?

Untitled, 2008 color photograph 70 x 63.5 inches (frame)  Edition of 6 (MP#465)  
Cindy Sherman, 2008 Installation view Metro Pictures, New York

1. Brooke Astor (1902 –2007)   2. Iris Apfel (In 2005, the Metropolitan Museum of Art premiered an exhibition about Apfel titled “Rare Bird”: The Irreverent Iris Apfel).  3. The Duchess of Alba (at 85 she married for the third time in October of 2011)  4. Zelda Kaplan (on February 16, 2012 -Kaplan died during a fashion show at age 95).

There is one difference that separates Cindy Sherman’s society ladies with the swans of the past and the aging ladies of society who still have their pictures snapped: Sherman’s transformations of her ladies rarely smile.

In the mid-eighties I had the distinct honor of working for Helene Weiner and Janelle Reiering at Metro Pictures – I was able to become intimately familiar with Cindy’s work studying it and then as now always fascinated and delighted to see what Cindy would create next – I find her one of the most mesmerizing artists of our time.

MUST SEE: The MoMA’s retrospective titled CINDY SHERMAN which will open on the 26th and will feature in addition to some of the large scale pieces from the society portraits - over 170 works spanning the 1970s to present day.

Cindy Sherman: February 26 – June 11, 2012 at The Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53 Street, New York City.


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