New York

“Eye to Eye”

Sean Kelly Gallery

“I didn’t care much about the print quality,” Cindy Sherman wrote recently of her famous first series, the “Untitled Film Stills” of 1977–80. “The photographs were supposed to look like they cost fifty cents. . . . One reason I was interested in photography was to get away from the preciousness of the art object.” No photographer seems farther from this initial ethos of Sherman’s than the late Robert Mapplethorpe, whose images are impeccably, expensively printed, classically structured, and as comfortable in glossy magazines as in art galleries. And even Sherman’s later work, which has developed a gloss of its own, sticks to a play of personas and an utterly enigmatic sense of self that still seem distant from Mapplethorpe’s declarative portraiture, showy eroticism, and chromatic and thematic polarities of profound black and brilliant white. But whether because opposites attract or because,

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