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Photo credit: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

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Title: Self-Portrait (Actress) after Liza Minnelli 1
Date: 1996
Medium: Silver dye bleach print, mounted on acrylic
Dimensions: Framed: 48 3/4 x 38 7/8 in. (123.8 x 98.7 cm)
Credit Line: The Ames Family Collection of Contemporary Photography
Object Number: 2003.034.004
Label Text: Yasumasa Morimura has been working with staged photography for over thirty years. Through costumes, makeup, and digital manipulation he creates self-portraits based on photographs of famous Hollywood actresses such as Liza Minnelli, Marilyn Monroe, or Audrey Hepburn. He has also based works on paintings by Frida Kahlo and Leonardo da Vinci, and in his most recent series on Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez, commenting on the complexities of the relationship between Eastern and Western cultures.

At first glance his Self-Portrait after Liza Minnelli seems to faithfully recreate a scene from Minnelli’s famous “Mein Herr” scene in the 1972 movie version of Cabaret. But while Morimura painstakingly re-created Sally Bowles’s costume, including the green nail polish, he took creative liberties with the staging of the dance scene itself. Not only did Morimura isolate Minnelli on stage, he also exaggerated the suggestiveness of her postures, as the viewer’s gaze is led directly between her legs. In this way, Morimura subverts the concept of the “male gaze” and its feminine object, complicating the mechanisms of identification at play in photographs. ("Staged, Performed, Manipulated," curated by Andrea Inselmann and presented at the Johnson Museum January 24 - June 7, 2015)

NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.