Cindy Sherman Signs With Hauser and Wirth as Her Longtime Gallery Metro Pictures Announces Its Closure

The news comes just days after Metro Pictures announced plans to close.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #21 (1978) © Cindy Sherman Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #21 (1978) © Cindy Sherman Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

That didn’t take long.

Shortly after legendary dealership Metro Pictures announced plans to close after 40 years, Hauser & Wirth confirmed it has signed the gallery’s biggest star, Cindy Sherman. The groundbreaking photographer had been with Metro Pictures from the start—a rarity among top artists, who often move around as their profiles enable them to set their own agendas with dealers.

Metro Pictures’s announcement on Sunday afternoon set off a fury of speculation over where the gallery’s more than two dozen high-profile artists will land. Dealers all over the world are said to be scrambling to make offers, even though the gallery will not shut down until the end of 2021. Deals such as Sherman’s are likely to be hashed out quickly as artists look to secure new homes following murmurs of the gallery’s impending closure last week.

Hauser & Wirth partner Marc Payot described Sherman as “a pictorial master.” Her practice, he added, “resonates very strongly with work of many other artists central to our program,” including Louise Bourgeois, Paul McCarthy, and Lorna Simpson.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled(2016). © Cindy Sherman Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Cindy Sherman, Untitled(2016). © Cindy Sherman. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

He also gave a nod to Metro Pictures’ directors. “Cindy is already established in the history of modern and contemporary American art, thanks in no small measure to the extraordinary work of Janelle Reiring and Helene Winer of Metro Pictures, her gallery since the early 1980s,” Payot said. “We are excited to build upon their achievements and to introduce the artist’s work to ever-broader audiences and new generations worldwide.”

Sherman’s representation with the gallery will begin this month, although her first project with Hauser & Wirth has not yet been confirmed.

The artist first rose to prominence in the 1970s in New York after studying at Buffalo State College in upstate New York with a focus on photography. From the beginning, she experimented with female stereotypes, casting herself as the central, and mostly only, subject of her photographs.

Her early—and perhaps most famous—series, “Untitled Film Stills,” saw her composing shots of herself that evoked old Hollywood movies, film noir, and B movies. Subsequent series over the years have involved ever-more ambitious experimentation with costumes, props, and backdrops, including series evoking centerfolds, clowns, and aging women. More recently, she has experimented with new platforms (like Instagram) and new media (such as textile).

Cindy Sherman, Untitled(2004). © Cindy Sherman Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Cindy Sherman, Untitled(2004). © Cindy Sherman. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Sherman is one of the top-selling female artists of all time, having pushed the boundaries of photography to the point where it crossed over into the upper reaches of the contemporary art realm. Her works are frequently included in major contemporary art evening sales. The Artnet Price Database lists more than 2,300 works by Sherman that have come to auction.

Sherman’s current top auction price is $6.7 million, paid for a collection of her untitled film stills at Christie’s New York in November 2014. To date, more than 18 of her works have sold for $1 million each at auction. And while her public auction market has softened a bit in recent years, having hit its peak between 2010 and 2014, Sherman’s work remains in high demand among top collectors and institutions.

Sherman has been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Louisiana Museum in Denmark.


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