About Face

Photographs by Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons and Rachel Harrison
from the Collection of Carol and David Appel

From December 11, 2019 to March 29, 2020

This exhibition brings together the work of three major American artists whose practice is deeply engaged with the history of representation of women. Presented artworks are draw from the collection of Carol and David Appel, Works in the exhibition are drawn from the collection of Carol and David Appel, prominent collectors of international contemporary art in Canada.

Sometimes through parody but always with empathy, their insightful, up-close photography reveals the diversity of canons, the play of appearances, the distortion of the everyday. Works in the exhibition are drawn from the collection of Carol and David Appel, prominent collectors of international contemporary art in Canada.

The exhibition features Laurie Simmons‘ major work Walking Camera (Jimmy the Camera) II, 1987 which ironizes the relationship between photography and representation of the female body. Also on view a rare complete set of Cindy Sherman‘s Untitled (Murder Mystery, 1976) series as well as important examples from later series including the Film Stills (1977-80) – widely regarded as one of the twentieth century’s most important photographic bodies of work –, Society Portraits (2008) and History Portraits (1988-90), ), where the artist embodies a multitude of characters.

Their work is set in dialogue with one of Rachel Harrison‘s most important photographic projects, Voyage of the Beagle (2007). This work constitutes a photographic journey into the history of sculptural representations of the body – both human and animal – ranging from ancient menhirs to taxidermy deer, to modern day mannequins. The photographs by Harrison, Sherman and Simmons forces us to recognize that the deeper reality is always beyond the face of the image, outside the frame, in the intervening spaces.

Credits and Curator

An exhibition organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Curator: Mary-Dailey Desmarais, Curator of International Modern and Contemporary Art, MMFA. Official Partners: Air Canada, Denalt Paints.