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.
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.
“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.”
Advance timed tickets for Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life will go on sale this spring.
The Broad’s third-floor galleries and Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room will continue to be accessible to free general admission ticketholders as well as to Sherman exhibition ticketholders. A Sherman exhibition ticket is not necessary for general admission to the museum, which remains free to all.
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
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 “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.
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
A new, extensive illustrated catalogue will accompany Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life and will include an essay from the exhibition’s guest curator Philipp Kaiser and a conversation between Cindy Sherman and Oscar-winning filmmaker Sofia Coppola. The book offers a fully illustrated, in-depth look at the complete holdings of Sherman’s work by The Broad, the largest such collection in the world.
While offering art historical insights into Sherman’s iconic photographs, the catalogue also positions Sherman in the history of film. Drawing out connections between her technique and those of cinema, the catalogue traces a consistent filmic thread that extends from Sherman’s earliest work through the work she is making today.
9 x 11, 144 pages, 130 illustrations. Price: $49.95 (hardcover). Available at The Shop at The Broad. Available to the trade through Delmonico Prestel.
As part of The Broad’s special exhibition program, tickets for Cindy Sherman will be $12 for 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 later this spring.
Sign up for The Broad’s email list at www.thebroad.org/signup to be notified when tickets go on sale. 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 opened in September 2015 and has since welcomed more than 300,000 visitors to view its inaugural installation, a sweeping, chronological journey through more than 250 works by some 60 artists in the Broad collection on both the first- and third-floor galleries of the museum. The inaugural installation will remain fully on view through May 1, 2016. From May 3 through June 10, the first-floor galleries will be closed for the installation of
Imitation of Life. Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room at the entrance to the first-floor galleries will remain open during the installation and run of Cindy Sherman, as will the third floor portion of the inaugural installation. The Cindy Sherman special exhibition will span the first-floor galleries from June 11 to Oct. 2, 2016.
The Broad is a new contemporary art museum founded by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. The museum is designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler and offers free general admission. The museum is home to the 2,000 works of art in the Broad collection, which is among the most prominent holdings of postwar and contemporary art worldwide.
With its innovative “veil-and-vault” concept, the 120,000-square-foot, $140-million building features two floors of gallery space to showcase The Broad’s comprehensive collection and is the headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library.
Image credit: (left) Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #47, 1979; (right) Cindy Sherman, Untitled #460, 2007/2008