the art exhibition bringing cindy sherman, ‘the princess diaries,’ and ‘the x files’ together

A new show at New York’s Swiss Institute explores the role art plays in film and television.

by Emily Manning
04 March 2016, 5:10pm

Ferris Bueller spent his day off snagging foul balls at Wrigley Field and performing on a float during the Von Steuben Day parade, but the notorious truant and his posse also made a memorable stop at the Art Institute of Chicago. Soundtracked by a clarinet version of The Smiths' "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want," the trio gazed upon works including Chagall's America Windows, a series of Picasso's Cubist portraits, and perhaps most memorably, Seurat's Sunday Afternoon. It's that iconic Pointillist piece that brings about Cameron's much-theorized existential awakening; art becomes a window into the character's deepest insecurities.

Still from Melrose Place, "Déjà Vu, All Over Again" (Season 5, Episode 28, 4/14/97)

A new exhibition at the Swiss Institute Gallery in New York -- titled FADE IN: INT. ART GALLERY - DAY -- seeks to explore what roles artworks play in classic movies, soap operas, science fiction, pornography, and musicals. FADE IN features contributions from 25 artists -- works that have been "sourced, reproduced and created in response to artworks that have been made to appear on-screen, whether as props, set dressings, plot devices, or character cues," the exhibition's release reads.

Still from The Picture of Dorian Gray, directed by Albert Lewin, 1945

The source material itself ranges widely: Cindy Sherman has sourced the original portrait painted for the 1945 filmic adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, but FADE IN also includes meditations on the artworks featured in Melrose Place, The X-Files, and even The Princess Diaries. The Twilight Zone, erotic thriller 9 ½ Weeks, and early 40s noir classic The Maltese Falcon are also explored, largely through new commissions from artists including Alex Israel, Casey Jane-Ellison, and Amie Siegel.

Still from The Princess Diaries, directed by Garry Marshall, 2001

The gallery itself has been recast as a set for these dramatic scenes, interrogating the distinctions and connections between props and art objects. How do film and television perceive art works and their value? How does art drive plot and develop character? FADE IN stages a unique enquiry into "whether these fictional depictions in mass media ultimately have greater influence in defining a collective understanding of art than art itself does."

FADE IN: INT. ART GALLERY - DAY or runs March 3-8 at Swiss Institute. More information here

Still from The Hunger Games, directed by Gary Ross, 2012

Still from Teorema, directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1968

Still from Xanadu, directed by Robert Greenwald, 1980


Text Emily Manning
Still from 'The X-Files' (1993-2002)

New York
Swiss Institute