Carte Blanche: Cindy Sherman

Apr 2–10, 2012


Meshes of the Afternoon. 1943. USA. Directed by Maya Deren, Alexander Hammid

In conjunction with MoMA’s Cindy Sherman retrospective, the artist has selected films that have informed her artistic practice. Film has had a profound influence on Sherman and is an inspiration for much of her work. Part of the first generation of Americans raised on television, she was fully steeped in mass-media culture from a young age, and she recalls watching films such as Rear Window and La Jetée as formative experiences. In college in the 1970s, she immersed herself in film, studying under the avant-garde filmmaker Paul Sharits and experimenting with the medium of film alongside photography.

For this Carte Blanche exhibition, Sherman selected films across a wide range of eras and genres—from camp (John Waters’s Desperate Living, 1977) to horror (Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, 1974) to classic art films (Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon, 1943)—reflecting her diverse interests and influences. Drawn largely from MoMA’s collection—including films that were acquired specifically for this presentation—the series also includes additional films on loan to the Museum.

The exhibition also includes a Curator’s Choice program, comprising Sherman’s 1975 short film Doll Clothes, followed by her horror-inflected feature film Office Killer (1997).

The exhibition is organized by Eva Respini, Associate Curator, with Lucy Gallun, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Photography, in collaboration with the Department of Film.

Prints courtesy of Grady Hendrix; Kim Henkel; Janus Films; Kino/Lorber; David Lynch; Magnolia Pictures; Metro Pictures, New York; David Naylor; New People World; UCLA Film and Television Archive; Warner Bros.; and John Waters.


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].