Untitled #87

Artist: Cindy Sherman (American, born Glen Ridge, New Jersey, 1954)

Date: 1981

Medium: Chromogenic print

Dimensions: Image: 59.2 x 122.5cm (23 5/16 x 48 1/4in.)
Frame: 78.7 x 139.7 cm (31 x 55 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Purchase, Samuel J. Wagstaff Jr. Bequest, 1995

Accession Number: 1995.16

Rights and Reproduction: © Cindy Sherman


In 1981, Sherman created a series of images showing herself squeezed into the horizontal, double-page format of the magazine spread. In each picture, the viewer loomed over the subject whose dramatically spot-lit poses-waiting for the phone to ring, crouching in terror, or staring catatonically into space-often implied an air of vulnerability, trauma, and even violence. By encouraging her audience to participate by proxy in the predatory "male gaze" reminiscent of Cinemascope B-movies and pornographic magazines, Sherman courted controversy; some critics felt that the works did not sufficiently stand apart from the objectification that they described so powerfully, and the magazine that commissioned the works ultimately rejected them for publication.