The World’s Most Expensive Photo

18 May

Do you have a self-portrait that’s worth a fortune? American photographer Cindy Sherman sure does–her simple conceptual self-portrait from 1981!

Many are rolling their eyes and raising their eyebrows at Cindy Sherman’s “Untitled #96” for fetching a whopping price of $3.89 million, overtaking 99 Cent II Diptychon by Andreas Gursky (sold for $3.35 million). Some are even asking, is that a blushing boy or a seductively posed girl? But perhaps the biggest question would be, is it deserving of the recognition as the world’s most expensive photo?

The multi-million dollar print is part of Sherman’s edition of photos from 1981, and features the artist in a seemingly androgynous appearance and a predominant orange color scheme. She is reclining seductively while clutching what appears to be a crumpled newspaper clipping. The photo was sold to Philippe Segalot, a New York dealer.

The photo’s origin is perhaps one of the reasons why “Untitled #96” fetched such a sky-high sum. According to ArtInfo, the sellers acquired the print from the time when Sherman was still establishing a market for her work. Sherman later on became known for her conceptual portraiture, working as her own make-up artist, hair stylist, director, model, and photographer.

Do you think the photo deserves the crazy multi-million price ever raised by a photo?

Source.

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So what’s so special about a photo of a girl on a tile floor? And what drives that unimaginable price? David Ross, former director of the Whitney and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, says that mainly, it’s a function of two people wanting the same thing:

“What matters to most of those collectors is winning. When art becomes a competitive sport,” Ross says on the phone, “all it takes to win is the guts and the money to go further than anyone else, and then, voila, you win. And winning feels really good.”

Then what’s so special about Cindy Sherman? Is she dead? No. Has she stopped making art? No. Is this a landmark event — considering the feminist underpinnings of her work, or the fact that she’s a woman? Not really.

“We’re living in a world of funny money,” says Ross. “And money is not really a measure of anything anymore because … it’s thrown around in such unpredictable ways.” Ross, a friend of Sherman’s, remembers when she was selling photos for $500 a pop. He says he’s really happy for her, but that in the world of art auctions, generalizations are dangerous. That record could be broken again next week.

Source.

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