Nine months after Los Angeles’ newest contemporary art museum opened to overwhelming crowds, The Broad’s first special exhibition will debut in June with a comprehensive survey of the work of artist Cindy Sherman. “Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life” is the first major museum show of Sherman’s work in Los Angeles in nearly 20 years, and the exhibition will fill The Broad’s first-floor galleries with close to 120 works drawn primarily from the Broad collection.
Organized by guest curator Philipp Kaiser, and taking cues from Los Angeles’ role as the mecca of the film industry, the special exhibition will foreground the artist’s engagement with 20th century popular film and celebrity. The exhibition, which will run June 11 through Oct. 2, 2016, will feature an expansive representation of Sherman’s photographs from throughout her influential career of more than four decades, as well as Office Killer, the 1997 feature film directed by the artist. Her widely known film stills series, as well as the less known rear projection series, both inspired by cinema of the 1950s and 1960s, play a central conceptual role in the show, and the show will include many works never before exhibited in Los Angeles.
Image credit: Cindy Sherman, Untitled #92, 1981ˇ
“Cindy Sherman’s work has been a touchstone for the Broad collection since Eli and Edye Broad first encountered it in 1982, and Cindy is the only artist in the collection whose work we’ve acquired so deeply and regularly, for more than 30 years,” said Joanne Heyler, founding director of The Broad. “There are 125 Cindy Sherman photographs in the Broad collection, the largest holding of her work in the world, and inaugurating our special exhibitions with an artist whose work sparked the Broads’ deep commitment to contemporary art could not be more appropriate for us. Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life offers a fresh curatorial take on her work in Los Angeles, one of the world’s crucibles of modern image making, focusing on Sherman’s unique examination of filmic stereotypes and of celebrity, starting with the earliest film stills to works she created just last year.”
Most well-known for photographs that feature the artist as her own model playing out media- influenced female stereotypes in a range of personas, environments and guises, Sherman shoots alone in her studio, serving as director, photographer, make-up artist, hairstylist and subject. Her decades-long performative practice has produced many of contemporary art’s most iconic and influential images. In her work, Sherman proposes powerful questions about identity, representation and the role of images in contemporary culture. From screen siren and pin-up to socialite and businesswoman, the roles Sherman depicts through her monumental body of work provocatively engage with contemporary life’s mediated personas and stereotypes, drawing not only from art history but also from the histories of advertising, cinema and media. Sherman reveals and dismantles these stereotypes and the mechanics of their production by creating series after series of photographs that dually evade characterization and focus on particular image-making procedures.
Guest curator Philipp Kaiser is assembling a comprehensive survey of Sherman’s entire career, drawing works primarily from the Broad collection with key loans from other major institutions. Kaiser is an independent curator, writer and teacher who previously served as the director of the Museum Ludwig, Cologne and has held curatorial positions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Museum for Contemporary Art, Basel. He has organized large-scale exhibitions on art of the 1980s, Land Art, California Conceptualism and many individual presentations of artists’ work including Jack Goldstein, Bruce Nauman and Louise Lawler, among others.
Image credit: (left) Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #47, 1979; (right) Cindy Sherman, Untitled #460, 2007/2008
“Surprisingly, there hasn’t been a major museum exhibition of Cindy Sherman’s work in Los Angeles in nearly two decades, and much of her work is influenced by and connected to the world of Hollywood,” said Kaiser. “From her film stills to her rear projections and her films, her massive body of work comments on and speaks to the limitless stream of visual material available to us today via cinema, television, advertising, media, the Internet and art itself. Cindy helped to craft the title of the exhibition, Imitation of Life, which is a reference to the Douglas Sirk’s 1959 film adaptation of Fannie Hurst’s novel that deals with intensely emotional struggles with identity.”
The exhibition will highlight Sherman’s major photographic series, including the iconic untitled film stills (1977–80), the centerfolds (1981), the fairy tales (1985), the history portraits (1989– 90), the sex pictures (1992) and her clown pictures (2003–04), as well as more recent works. “She is one of the most important artists of our time, with a body of work that exemplifies the Pictures Generation—artists whose work came to fruition in the age of the proliferation of mass media imagery in the ’80s, which is relevant to today’s image-saturated world,” said Kaiser.
As part of The Broad’s special exhibition program, tickets for “Cindy Sherman” will be $12 for adult admission; free admission for visitors 17 and under. Advance timed tickets to the Cindy Sherman special exhibition will be available for purchase at www.thebroad.org. The Broad’s third-floor galleries will continue to show the Broad collection and remain accessible with free general admission tickets. “Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life” tickets include same-day general admission for The Broad’s third-floor galleries.
The Broad is located at 221 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA. Hours are – 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Be sure to check website. To find out more about the collection and upcoming events and exhibitions visit www.thebroad.org