A pair of giant-sized Cindy Sherman self portraits are on view at Art Basel Miami Beach, courtesy New York’s Metro Pictures. Self portraits are the artist’s bread and butter, of course—the shape-shifting photographer has recast herself in many roles since her seminal “Untitled Film Stills” series begin in 1977. But these new works mark an unexpected new direction for Sherman: they are tapestries, the first non-photographic works she’s ever made.
The two pieces, debuting at the fair, are part of a new series made from images originally posted on Sherman’s Instagram.
“She couldn’t make prints because the resolution isn’t good enough,” Janelle Reiring, one of the owners of Metro Pictures, explained to Artnet News.
The tapestries are produced in Belgium, and are being sold in editions of ten for $125,000 each. At the fair’s opening day, the untitled works were moving fast—so fast that Reiring was having trouble keeping track of sales. “I don’t even know,” she admitted, when asked how many of the works had found a home.
“People respond enthusiastically to all of Cindy’s work,” Reiring added. “She has an incredible fanbase.” Given Sherman’s enduring popularity, it isn’t a surprise that collectors are eager to get their hands on work that represents a new type of media for the artist.
Can it really be the first time she is making non-photographic work? In May, Sherman teamed up with Catherine Opie to create a mini line of cameo jewelry for art and fashion platform LIZWORKS. “She’s done things for charities—I think somebody made a pool float!” allowed Reiring. But otherwise, it’s been all photos, the dealer said.
After so many years of dealing in Sherman’s photographic works, the gallery wasn’t sure what to expect from this new venture into textile works. “I was really excited when they arrived,” Reiring admitted.
The dealer was wearing one of Sherman’s cameo rings, also based on an image from the artist’s Instagram, which has transformed the selfie into contemporary art. Sherman made headlines in 2017 when she made her account public, causing critics to wonder if her social media output should be considered part of her practice. (She now has close to 300,000 followers.)
With the unveiling of these new tapestries, that question has been definitively answered in the affirmative. “Cindy had an Instagram account that she used like everybody else does,” said Reiring. “I think it was her hairdresser who told her about these apps that people use to make themselves look good. Cindy can contort everything and make them weird. She’s really gotten into it!”
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