Urgent Museum Notice

Medusa, from the series “Ricas y Famosas”

Close up of Medusa, from the series “Ricas y Famosas”

A slim, light-skinned woman wearing a long, emerald-green dress gazes up at the viewer from the foot of the bed, her bare feet near the headboard. Brown hair radiates from her head in 10 curled, snake-like segments. Her arms, bent at the elbows, extend from her body to form a W.

Daniela Rossell, Medusa (Ricas y Famosas), 1999; Chromogenic color print, 60 x 50 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection; © Daniela Rossell, Courtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali, New York

Medusa, from the series “Ricas y Famosas”
Daniela Rossell

Each work in Daniela Rossell’s “Ricas y Famosas” series is the product of a collaborative effort between artist and sitter. Before taking a photograph, Rossell toured the houses and interviewed her subjects, receiving input on the setting, clothing, and poses.

In Medusa, Rossell created two views of the sitter and her environment, both the actual image and the reflection in the mirror. In contrast to her snake-like hair and outspread arms, the sitter’s legs are tightly wrapped in fabric, not unlike the doll in the papoose to her left. The lines of the woman’s hair and body guide our eyes to the reflection in the mirror while the lines of the bedspread frame her.

Rossell’s series focuses on women in interiors. The subjects often seem to become another decoration or part of the space they inhabit. However, her purposefully ambiguous images are open to interpretation.

Describing her process, Rossell stated, “I like to play with people’s conceptions of what a photograph should be. The women figure out from magazines and television what they think a photographer should snap, and they start performing.”

Artwork Details

  • Artist

    Daniela Rossell
  • Title

    Medusa, from the series “Ricas y Famosas”
  • Date

    1999
  • Medium

    Chromogenic color print
  • Dimensions

    60 x 50 in.
  • Donor Credit

    Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, Washington, D.C.
  • Photo Credit

    © Daniela Rossell, Courtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali, New York
  • On Display

    Yes