In 1981 Cindy Sherman was commissioned to contribute a special project to Artforum magazine. Given two facing pages, she chose to explore the pornographic centerfold, creating 12 largescale horizontal images of herself appearing as various young women, often reclining, in private, melancholic moments of reverie. As Sherman explained, “I wanted a man opening up the magazine to suddenly look at it in expectation of something lascivious and then feel like the violator that they would be.” Sherman’s Centerfolds were so provocative that they were never published for fear that they would be misunderstood. Art historian Gwen Allen’s essay examines one of the most iconic photographs in the series, Untitled #96-in which a young woman lies on her back against an orange and yellow vinyl floor, clutching a scrap of newspaper-exploring the production and critical reception of Sherman’s Centerfolds in relationship to the politics of pornography, gender, and representation.
Each volume in the One on One series is a sustained meditation on a single work from the collection of The Museum of Modern Art. A richly illustrated and lively essay illuminates the subject in detail and situates the work within the artist’s life and career as well as within broader historical contexts. This series is an invaluable guide for exploring and interpreting some of the most beloved artworks in the Museum’s collection.