Cindy Sherman and Robert Frank in the same sentence

coming back to new york city and reading the NY Times this past sunday, that is if i don’t read ‘the news that’s fit to print’ which seems to drive me up the wall these days and i am learning to just skip over it and read around the hard news finding the things that interest me i find interesting tidbits here and there. this one in arts and leisure

for starters there is this piece about MOMA’s upcoming Cindy Sherman Photography retrospective which i’ll go see during the week altho these shows are always mobbed with people moving along to the next experience. me i like to savory what’s in front of me, sort of like sex. i won’t be able to attend a pre-opening due to some rotator cuff appointments, ugh. i’ll just have to grin and bear it reading things like this just builds up my excitement.


Published: February 16, 2012
CINDY SHERMAN was looking for inspiration at the Spence Chapin Thrift Shop on the Upper East Side last month when she eyed a satin wedding dress. An elaborate confection, it had hand-sewn seed pearls forming flowers cascading down the front and dozens of tiny satin-covered buttons in the back from which the train gently hung like a Victorian bustle.
Cindy Sherman

The photographer Cindy Sherman in a rare pose as herself. More Photos »

self portrait
“It’s Arnold Scaasi,” the saleswoman said, as Ms. Sherman made a beeline for the dress. Unzipping the back the clerk showed off a row of labels, one with the year it was made — 1992 — and another with the name of the bride-to-be. “It has never been worn,” she added. As the story goes, when the gown was finished, the bride decided she didn’t like it.

Ms. Sherman appeared skeptical. Is this really what happened, or is the story just the cover for a jilted bride? One begged to know more.

That tantalizing sense of mystery and uneasiness are similar emotions viewers feel when they see one of Ms. Sherman’s elliptical photographs. Over the course of her remarkable 35-year career she has transformed herself into hundreds of different personas: the movie star, the valley girl, the angry housewife, the frustrated socialite, the Renaissance courtesan, the menacing clown, even the Roman god Bacchus. Some are closely cropped images; in others she is set against a backdrop that, as Ms. Sherman describes it, “are clues that tell a story.”

“None of the characters are me,” she explained, sipping a soda at a cafe near the shop that afternoon. “They’re everything but me. If it seems too close to me, it’s rejected.”

On this unseasonably warm afternoon Ms. Sherman, 58, had bicycled from her apartment in Lower Manhattan to discuss her landmark retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, which opens Feb. 26 and includes more than 170 photographs. Wearing no makeup, with leggings and sneakers and a tweed hat that carefully concealed her crash helmet, she looked totally inconspicuous, hardly the celebrated artist whose fans include Lady Gaga; Elton John, who collects her work; and Madonna, who sponsored a show of Ms. Sherman’s “Untitled Film Stills,” at the Museum of Modern Art in 1997.

Petite, with strawberry-blonde hair that falls to her shoulders, she is nothing like the larger-than-life characters she portrays in her self-portraits. Soft-spoken and friendly, she is very much a girl’s girl who can as easily giggle about men, movies and makeup as she can discuss literature and art.

see rest of the Times article here


then in the Metropolitan section i find mention of forgotten Robert Franks promotional pictures shot for the NY Times on their Lens Blog  some twelve new york black and white pictures.

In 1958, the promotion department of The New York Times hired a young Swiss expat to take pictures that were collected in a slim hardcover book for prospective advertisers. The book, “New York Is,” extolled the virtues of the city and of the newspaper as the best way to tap its prosperous postwar consumers.

Some of the arrestingly elegant shots that resulted could have been taken by other fresh-eyed art or fashion photographers of the day, like William Klein or Roy DeCarava or Lillian Bassman, who died Monday at 94. But other pictures – snapped seemingly midstride; decidedly grainier and blurrier than commercial work at the time; defined by seas of inky black and oceans of shiny reflective surfaces – are unmistakably the work of only one man: Robert Frank, who with his masterpiece “The Americans,” published the following year, was to change the course of photography.

“New York Is” began as an ad campaign, and the book was distributed in 1959, showcasing two dozen of Mr. Frank’s pictures alongside snappy, boosterish captions. While the book has long been known in scholarly and rare-book circles, where copies now change hands for several thousand dollars, the prints, negatives and contact sheets Mr. Frank made for the project were long thought to have been lost amid shuffles of storage rooms and picture archives at The New York Times.

But Jeff Roth, an archivist at The Times, learned they had been rediscovered three years earlier by Helen Silverstein, the widow of Louis Silverstein, an influential designer who served for many years as the art director of The Times and who died in December. Mr. Silverstein was art director of the promotion department in the late 1950s and for commercial jobs often hired Mr. Frank, who wrote in a note for Mr. Silverstein’s memorial service in January: “He gave me moral support as well as financial – and this made my life in NYC possible.” (Mrs. Silverstein was later to be a producer and co-editor for Mr. Frank’s first feature-length film, “Me and My Brother.”)

read the rest of the Times story here

now i’ve got work to do, hummmm if only i knew what it is i do, that might help me focus on the task at hand. oh well drink another cup of coffee and dream always seems to help.

jene youtt


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