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The Broad Presents Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life

More than 120 works by the groundbreaking artist will be on view June 11 through Oct. 2 in The Broad’s first special exhibition; first Cindy Sherman show in L.A. in 19 years to debut new works and site-specific murals

Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life

LOS ANGELES, June 8, 2016—The Broad’s first special exhibition, Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life, opens June 11, 2016 and will feature more than 120 works by the groundbreaking artist, including works never before seen in Los Angeles and large-scale site-specific wall murals.

The first major museum show of Sherman’s work in Los Angeles since 1997, the comprehensive survey is drawn primarily from the Broad collection, which has the world’s largest holdings of the artist’s work, with select loans from the artist and museums around the country. Organized by guest curator Philipp Kaiser and presented in the home city of the filmmaking industry, the exhibition showcases Sherman’s engagement with 20th century popular film and celebrity, drawing on cinema’s role in the shaping of identity and stereotypes.

The exhibition, which runs through Oct. 2, fills the museum’s first-floor galleries with an expansive representation of Sherman’s photographs from her four-decade career, spanning from 1975 to works completed this year. Playing a central conceptual role in the show are Sherman’s widely known Untitled Film Stills, in which the artist poses as her own model in a variety of nostalgic yet rigorously conceived scenes reminiscent of B-movies of the 1950s and 60s. The exhibition highlights other major photographic series by the artist, including the centerfolds (1981), the fairy tales (1985), the history portraits (1989–90), the sex pictures (1992) and her clown pictures (2003–04). Also included is Office Killer, the 1997 comedy-horror feature film directed by the artist. Bookending the exhibition are major examples of Sherman’s connection to film. The exhibition opens with two massive full-wall murals—newly conceived by the artist for this exhibition—that reimagine Sherman’s 1980 rear-screen projection photographs, which were inspired by techniques and archetypes in midcentury cinema. The show closes with new photographs produced this year and never before seen in Los Angeles that focus on 1920s film publicity photos of aging starlets.

“Dedicating The Broad’s first special exhibition to the work of Cindy Sherman points to the significance of her shape-changing, convention-disrupting work to visual culture generally, but also, on a more personal level, to the history of Sherman’s work in the Broad collection, a remarkable and defining commitment that stretches back almost 35 years,” said Joanne Heyler, founding director of The Broad. “Since first encountering her work in the early 1980s, Eli and Edye Broad have amassed a holding unparalleled worldwide.”

Sherman’s pioneering work combines photography and performance art. The artist is featured in nearly every work, depicting a range of media-influenced female stereotypes and personas, environments and guises. Shooting alone in her studio, Sherman serves as makeup-up artist, hairstylist, model, director and photographer. Her decades-long performative practice has produced many of contemporary art’s most iconic and influential images. Through her works, Sherman raises 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 and media.

Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life
Guest curator Philipp Kaiser has assembled a comprehensive survey of Sherman’s entire career, drawing works primarily from the Broad collection with key contributions from Metro Pictures; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Menil Collection; and the Whitney Museum of American Art. 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 Louise Lawler, among others.

“For over 40 years, Cindy Sherman’s work has moved within the discussion of identity and representation and, in doing so, has maneuvered through various mass-media contexts, among others cinema; its fictional suggestions and typologies have long since become a real ersatz-reality, an imitation of life,” said Kaiser. “Sherman’s early Untitled Film Stills as well as her rear projections refer explicitly to the cinema: stills, drawing from the existing format of the stationary image, which serves to publicize a film through its obtrusive, seductive allure as visual bait, as well as the rear projection, which was explicitly appropriated from the context of cinema.”

“Moreover, this explicitness, the direct proximity to the cinematic image, entails, beyond the deconstructive impulse of postmodernist photography, that the works contain a suggestive narrative potential,” Kaiser said. “In this way, the imitation of cinema and the imitation of life blur beyond recognition. Sherman’s decision to title her exhibition Imitation of Life moves toward enabling a distinct and specific perspective on her work, first in the title’s referring to Douglas Sirk’s well-known melodrama about a young girl’s identity crisis, and second because the concept of imitation seems essential to Sherman’s artistic practice.”

Exhibition Catalogue
A new extensive illustrated catalogue accompanies Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life and includes an essay from the exhibition’s guest curator Philipp Kaiser, an introduction by founding director of The Broad Joanne Heyler 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.

Ticketing and Admission
The Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life special exhibition spans The Broad’s first-floor galleries from June 11 to Oct. 2, 2016. As part of The Broad’s special exhibition program, tickets for Cindy Sherman are $12 for adults and free for visitors 17 and under. Advance timed tickets to the Cindy Sherman special exhibition are available for purchase at Tickets are released on the first of each month for the following month. The Broad’s third-floor galleries continue to show selections from the Broad collection and remain accessible with free general admission tickets. Cindy Sherman exhibition tickets include same-day general admission to The Broad’s third-floor galleries. Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room at the entrance to the first-floor galleries will remain open during the run of the Cindy Sherman exhibition.

Audio Tour
Accompanying the exhibition is an engaging audio tour produced by The Broad. Featuring interviews with artists in the Broad collection, including Sharon Lockhart and Jordan Wolfson, and celebrities who have been influenced by Cindy Sherman’s work, including actresses Jamie Lee Curtis, Molly Ringwald, Miranda July and Gaby Hoffmann, film director John Waters and Humberto Leon, creative director of Opening Ceremony and Kenzo, the audio tour helps visitors deepen their engagement with the exhibition. Visitors can access the tour by downloading The Broad’s free mobile app, accessible on Apple and Android smartphones or Wi-Fi–enabled portable electronic devices, in the app store.

Related Programming
The Broad will host two major public programming series inspired by the Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life exhibition and other artists in the Broad collection.

Co-curated by independent curator and writer Bradford Nordeen and director of editorial operations at Pitchfork Brandon Stosuy, the Nonobject(ive): Summer Happenings at The Broad series will be held one Saturday night a month through September and will occupy various spaces throughout the museum and public outdoor plaza. A constellation of musicians, performers and multimedia artists will take their thematic calling from the many guises of Cindy Sherman, as well as Pop art and works of the 1980s and 1990s that helped shape the underground, rave and downtown Manhattan cultures. The first program in the series, inspired by the Cindy Sherman special exhibition, will be held on June 25 and will feature Perfume Genius’s orchestrations and the ever-changing masked choreography of Narcissister. In the spirit of Sherman’s photographs, performance collective Mutant Salon will transform visitors’ hair, make-up and minds in a pop-up beauty parlor and hive for creative collaboration and self-care. Tickets to Nonobject(ive): Summer Happenings also include access to the full museum and the special exhibition.

Also curated by Bradford Nordeen, the Doll Parts film series will take place every other Thursday night throughout the summer in The Broad’s Oculus Hall. The film series is inspired by Cindy Sherman’s darker works and will examine the iconography of the artist’s photographic practice, showcasing influences, like minds and apparent heirs to her evolving body of work. Expanding on ideas present in Sherman’s work through an innovative program of international films, artists’ tapes and music videos, the film series will feature Sherman’s Office Killer, Douglas Sirk’s Imitation of Life (after which the Cindy Sherman exhibition was named), Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon, Nobuhiko Obayashi’s Hausu and more. Tickets to the Doll Parts films also include same-night access to the full museum and the special exhibition.

Tickets for Nonobject(ive): Summer Happenings at The Broad and the Doll Parts film series will go on sale on the 15th of each month for the following month.

− Tickets for June programs now on sale
− June 15 at noon PT, tickets for July programs on sale
− July 15 at noon PT, tickets for August programs on sale
− Aug. 15 at noon PT, tickets for September programs on sale

Further information on programming is available at

About The Broad
The Broad is a new contemporary art museum founded by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles that opened on Sept. 20, 2015. The museum was 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.

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