A record price for a photograph was achieved recently at Christies, New York. Cindy Sherman’s ‘Untitled #96′, part of a series compiling ten unpublished photographs commissioned by Artforum Magazine In 1981 now becomes the most expensive photograph ever sold. Sherman produced the series as a take off on men’s magazine centerfolds formating them as double page spreads. In this work, Sherman has taken a photo of herself depicting a 30-something single woman daydreaming on a linoleum kitchen floor, clutching a personal ad. The seventies was an important time in the development of women artists. As feminism took hold it encouraged a more personal and introspective approach to art that dealt with body-politics and relationships.The Art dealer Philippe Segalot purchased the work for $3.89 million, as bidding reached an almost hysterical crescendo. Sherman’s work has been widely acclaimed and collected for many years. Her subject matter often questions the role of women in society. Some subjects highlight the stereotyping of women in popular culture. Cindy Sherman, combines elements from many different cultural scenarios, often referencing social and artistic movements. When she created a series of staged grade “B” movie stills, she starred herself. Sherman was usually alone, often in elaborate disguise, so that she became everyone and no one.
Cindy Sherman was born in New Jersey in 1954. She studied visual arts at Buffalo State College, where she started painting than abandoned the medium for photography.
By turning the camera on herself,Cindy Sherman has built a name as one of the most respected photographers of the late twentieth century. Although, the majority of her photographs are self portraits, these photographs are most definitely not self-portraits. Rather, Sherman uses herself as a vehicle for commentary on a variety of issues of the modern world: the role of the woman, the role of the artist and many more. It is through these ambiguous and eclectic photographs that Sherman has developed a distinct signature style.
Through a number of different series of works, Sherman has raised challenging and important questions about the role and representation of women in society, the media and the nature of the creation of art.
She explained to the New York Times in 1990, “I feel I’m anonymous in my work. When I look at the pictures, I never see myself; they aren’t self-portraits. Sometimes I disappear.”
In 1995, Sherman was the recipient of one of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowships, popularly known as the “Genius Awards.” This fellowship grants $500,000 over five years, no strings attached, to important scholars in a wide range of fields, to encourage their future creative work.
This was confirmed as an auction record for a photograph. The figure was previously held by Andreas Gursky for a work titled, “99 Cent II Diptychon,” It fetched $3.35 million in 2006. Sherman recently had another high profile sale, with her work “Untitled #153,” from 1985 achieving $2.7m in autumn 2010.