Cindy Sherman

A few short notes on Cindy Sherman:

  • She is known as ‘a contemporary master of socially critical photography’ (The Art Story)
  • She explores female personas, sexual desire and domination and self identity and put names to female stereotypes
  • Sherman uses many props, costumes, wigs and makeup to recreate her personas
  • She has a single unifying trope in all her images, namely that she gazes directly at the viewer of her photos, forcing a confrontation and allowing the viewer to compose his/her own narrative
  • Her photos do not reveal any truth – they are all fabricated narratives
  • Sherman was heavily influenced by watching TV and movies
  • Cotton (2009, p. 192)  makes the argument that Cindy Sherman’s work is ‘the prime exemplar of postmodern art photography’.
  • She generated an entire following of photographers working in a style similar to hers, e.g. Ryan Trecartin and Nikki Lee.
Click on image above to access the video. The track on Cindy Sherman begins at 15:30 and ends at 34:50
Click on image above to access the video. The track on Cindy Sherman begins at 15:30 and ends at 34:50

… Cindy Sherman has shown herself to be the ultimate master of self-morphing, utilizing everything from old-fashioned makeup and prosthetics to digital technology, inventing and portraying extraordinary alter egos and multiple identities that brilliantly reflect our image-saturated culture—and in the process inventing her own genre.

Phoebe Hoban

Reference List

Cotton, Charlotte (2009). The Photograph as Contemporary Art. London: Thames & Hudson.

Hoban, Phoebe (2012). The Cindy Sherman Effect [online]. Art News. Available from: http://www.artnews.com/2012/02/14/the-cindy-sherman-effect/ [Accessed 1 March, 2016]

Cindy Sherman [online]. The Art Story | Modern Art Insight. Available from: http://www.theartstory.org/artist-sherman-cindy.htm [Accessed 1 March, 2016]

Robert Longo on Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Still #25 (1978) [webcast, online]. The Museum of Modern Art. 3 mins 26 secs. 19/01/2016. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9kL0YMpQDg (accessed 12/03/2016)

Transformation [webcast, online]. PBS.org Art 21. 54 mins 30 secs. 21/10/2009. Available at: http://www.pbs.org/video/1281770054/ (accessed 01/03/2016)

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