The Simulacra

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Robert Mapplethorpe, Shoe (Melody), 1979.











pastiche = an artistic technique whereby a generally light-hearted tongue-in-cheek imitation of another's style is employed; although jocular it is usually respectful (as opposed to parody, which is not)
Untitled 21
Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #21, 1978.











Carravaggio, Young Sick Bacchus, 1593.
Cindy Sherman, Untitled #224, 1990.
Appropriation = the use of found or borrowed elements in the creation of a new artwork
Walter Benjamin's The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
  • In an age when images can be reproduced endlessly, there is no original
  • "Aura" is the feeling of awe created by unique object from the past
  • Capitalism destroys the aura because of proliferation, mass production and endless reproduction.
  • Once the aura has been lost, when art is no longer based on ritual, it begins to be based in politics











Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #34, 1979.











Laura Mulvey's Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema 1973

Untitled 56

Male gaze = a fundamental concept to Feminist theory which relates to the way men look at women, how women look at themselves and other women, and the sociological effects of this method of looking. Some feminists posit that since it is almost always the female who is being gazed upon by the male, the man exhibits power over the woman.
  • Hollywood cinema places the viewer in the masculine position
  • The viewer identifies with the protagonist who tends to be male
  • The woman is the object of desire - something to be looked at
Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #34, 1979.











Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #32, 1979.


1996 Museum of Modern Art purchased a complete set of Film Stills for $1 million

In 2006 a print of #32 (Sherman made 10) sold for $140,000 at auction