American artist Cindy Sherman’s photographs are profoundly influential in the art world and beyond. They are iconic, even when the artist herself is not always recognizable in the image. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York is currently hosting a retrospective exhibition of her works. With more than 170 works of art, the retrospective takes a closer look at the artist’s career spanning from the early 1970s until today.
Cindy Sherman has become a master of disguise. In her best known works, she uses herself as a model to create the various characters she embodies for her portraits. These works are the result of a veritable “one-woman-show”: she does her own make-up, chooses her own props and clothing, and uses prosthetics as necessary to create her memorable photographs, which she also takes by herself.
She became internationally known with her “Untitled Film Stills” series of the late 1970s and early 1980s. In this series, Sherman created black-and-white photographs of herself disguised as women reminiscent of the Hollywood divas depicted in 1950s and 1960s film noir and B-movies. For her history portraits of the 1980s and 1990s she looked for inspiration in the Old Master paintings, embodying the spirit of patricians and aristocrats as well as that of an ordinary milkmaid.
She also explored the grotesque in other works called the “Disasters and Fairy Tales” series, with scenes that could rival the best horror films or sci-fi gems. In this series, however, the artist is not always included in the image. Sherman’s “Sex Pictures” series, which uses only dolls and prosthetics, creates a number of shocking and disturbing images. In the most recent years the artist has turned her critical eye toward modern society portraits, and her photographic murals from 2010 will make their debut on American soil as part of the exhibition.
Sherman’s works are socially critical, and this exhibition is guaranteed to make you think about the role of art, cinema and performance as well as issues of gender and class identity, among others.
Born in 1954, Cindy Sherman first studied painting at the State University College at Buffalo. She soon lost interest in painting, however, and turned instead to photography, which she felt could better represent her ideas. After graduating in 1976, she moved to New York City, where she first started photographing herself as the subjects in her “Untitled Film Stills” series.
Thanks in part to having achieved international success at a young age, Cindy Sherman’s photographs garner high prices at auction. The Museum of Modern Art purchased an entire set of her “Untitled Film Stills” for one million dollars in 1996.
Don’t miss this opportunity to see an overview of Cindy Sherman’s creative masterpieces. The exhibition runs through June 11, 2012. A number of discussions and films – which Cindy Sherman herself selected – are being offered in conjunction with the exhibition. While you’re there, make sure to take in the museum’s world-renowned permanent collection.
Find apartments in New york and take advantage of being in one of the world´s cultural capitals by visiting the city´s many world-renowned museums.