By Anna Jaffray
Cindy Sherman, American-born photographer, has been creating unique self-portraits for over 35 years. Her photographs, often described as eerie, gender bending, and theatrical, feature Sherman as the disguised subject.
Sherman’s self-portraits are highly regarded as ground-breaking contemporary work. She has deconstructed the physical in her photographs through cross dressing, prosthetic features, and altered facial formations.
Sherman’s work will be on display at the New York Museum of Modern Art until June 11th. In a statement released about the exhibit, curators described Sherman as “…one of the most important and influential artists of our time and her work is the unchallenged cornerstone of post-modern photography.”
Using an extensive collection of make-up, costumes, and props, Sherman transforms herself into various characters. Examples include some religious archetypes, mystical pig-like creatures, modern figures, and robed women in their chambers. Sherman’s images evoke a story, drawing viewers into an alternate universe that Sherman herself has created and inhabits.
Eva Respini, the Associate Curator for the show, says, “To create her photographs, Sherman works unassisted in her studio and assumes multiple roles as photographer, model, art director, make-up artist, hairdresser, and stylist.
“Whether portraying a career girl or a blond bombshell, a fashion victim or a clown, a French aristocrat or a society lady of a certain age, for over 35 years this relentlessly adventurous artist has created an eloquent and provocative body of work that resonates deeply with our visual culture.”
The exhibition contains over 170 photographs spanning nearly 40 years of work. Images from her landmark series are included, such as “Untitled Film Stills” which are black and white images of Sherman featured as a stereotypical female of the 50s and 60s Hollywood film noir and European art-house films.
Also included are her history portraits with Sherman featured as various historical characters on sets resembling old master paintings. And her society portraits where Sherman is featured as varying socialites in massive prints, looming on the walls of the MoMA gallery.
In conjunction with the exhibit is a another one titled “Carte Blanche: Cindy Sherman,” which will feature various films that have influenced much of the photographer’s work. Such films include “Desperate Living,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Meshes of Afternoon.”
The exhibition also includes Sherman’s 1975 short film “Doll Clothes” and her 1997 horror feature called “Office Killer.”