Masquerading as a myriad of characters, Cindy Sherman (American, born 1954) invents personas and tableaus that examine the construction of identity, the nature of representation, and the artifice of photography. To create her images, she assumes the multiple roles of photographer, model, makeup artist, hairdresser, and stylist. Whether portraying a career girl, a blond bombshell, a fashion victim, a clown, or a society lady of a certain age, for over thirty-five years this relentlessly adventurous artist has created an eloquent and provocative body of work that resonates deeply in our visual culture.
This exhibition surveys Sherman’s career, from her early experiments as a student in Buffalo in the mid-1970s to a recent large-scale photographic mural, presented here for the first time in the United States. Included are some of the artist’s groundbreaking works—the complete “Untitled Film Stills” (1977–80) and centerfolds (1981), plus the celebrated history portraits (1988–90)—and examples from her most important series, from her fashion work of the early 1980s to the break-through sex pictures of 1992 to her monumental 2008 society portraits.
Sherman works in series, and each of her bodies of work is self-contained and internally coherent; yet there are themes that have recurred throughout her career. The exhibition showcases the artist’s individual series and also presents works grouped thematically around such common threads as cinema and performance; horror and the grotesque; myth, carnival, and fairy tales; and gender and class identity.
The exhibition is organized by Eva Respini, Associate Curator, with Lucy Gallun, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Photography.
This exhibition is on view at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, from February 26–June 11, 2012, and will travel to: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (July 14–October 7, 2012); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (November 10, 2012–February 17, 2013); and Dallas Museum of Art (March 17–June 9, 2013).