Donations to the collection on the occasion of Lars Nittve leaving his post as director of Moderna Museet, 2001-2010
Cindy Sherman (b. 1954) embarked on the photo series Untitled Film Stills in 1977, when she was only 23. Three years and 69 black-and-white photos later, it was concluded. Gradually, the series became renowned, and Untitled Film Stills is now regarded to have broken the ground for a new kind of artistic strategy that established itself in the 1980s.
The series consists of photographs that are evocative of film stills, all starring women. Sherman is herself portrayed in them, and despite the varying subject matter, the pictures appear as commercial clichés and the women as captives of their stereotypical gender roles. Initial response to the series was sceptical. The pictures do not explicitly criticise the clichés. Instead, they imitate the popular female image of the 1950s and onwards. Many young women identified with film stars and took them as role models. Does Cindy Sherman condone the prevailing conditions?
In fact, the photos are a time bomb. By isolating the images from their context and putting herself in the lead role, Cindy Sherman asks several indirect questions: Who wrote the script for the actresses? Who directed their films? Who owns the film companies?
The film industry is almost entirely dominated by men. Without bias, Sherman reveals how a male perspective on women is conveyed via the film industry and forms women’s attitudes to themselves and their existence, including Cindy Sherman’s. There is no sermon, no irony, in her pictures. Sherman uncovers the conditions in a neutral manner, leaving the viewer to determine right and wrong.
Untitled Film Still #22 (1978), #33 (1979) and #56 (1980) are now in the Moderna Museet collection. These works are important and crucial to understanding the development of late 20th century art.
Michael Landy (b. 1963) participated in the legendary Freeze exhibition in London in 1988. This exhibition was the starting point for the Young British Artists wave headed by Damien Hirst, which came to dominate major parts of the international art scene throughout the 1990s.
In 2001, he was widely acknowledged for the installation Break Down, which involved moving all his personal belongings, some 7,227 items including his car and works of art by himself and others, to a discontinued clothes shop on Oxford Street in London, where he set up a conveyor belt in the shop, whereupon he and ten assistants systematically disassembled and destroyed each belonging.
The donated work, H.2.N.Y. 27 Minutes (2005), is an oil stick drawing on paper. The title alludes to Jean Tinguely’s self-destructing sculpture Homage to New York, which was exhibited in the MoMA sculpture garden in 1960. It took 27 minutes for the sculpture to self-destruct. Landy’s drawing freezes one moment in the event, while his black-and-white rendering dramatises the documentation of the process.
Untitled Film Still #22, 1978
Donation from Moderna Museets Vänner (The Friends of Moderna Museet)
Untitled Film Still #33, 1979
Edition 1 of 10
Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation
Thomas och Catharina Berman
Christina och Lars Bertmar
Helena och Martin Bjäringer
Peggy, Pontus och Åke Bonnier
Kerstin och Johan Hessius
Carl E Hirsch
Lena och Per Josefsson
Gunilla och Richard Kahm
Ulla och Anders Ljungh
Anna-Stina Malmborg och Gunnar Höglund
Karin Meidner och Jan Widlund
Dagmar Klint Schmidt
Harriet och Johan Ljung
Agneta Modig Tham
Agneta och Bo Philipson
Advokatfirman Vinge AB
Eon Sverige AB
Storåkers McCann AB
Untitled Film Still #56, 1980
Donation from The American Friends of the Moderna Museet Inc.
H.2.N.Y. 27 minutes, 2005
Oljefärgskrita på papper
Donation from Jeremy Lewison in Honour of Lars Nittve