Cindy Sherman’s Long Cameo at MoMA


Cindy Sherman. Untitled #458 (2007-08). Chromogenic color print, 6' 5 3/8" x 58 1/4" (196.5 x 148 cm). Credits: Courtesy the artist and Metro Pictures, New York. © 2012 Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman’s retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art opens on February 26th, revealing the various themes that have dominated the artist’s 30-year career.  Sherman’s first solo show in 1975 engaged the self-portrait as an ever-changing, fictitious subject.  Staged photographs ultimately mirrored different realities that propelled her work toward critical social issues. 

Her infamous piece “Untitled” from 1975 comprises two dozen black-and-white photographs that capture the artist’s evolution into a cosmopolitan figure.  Sherman also exploited her own fiction by adding colorful effects to each print. The subtle ironies within Sherman’s choreographed photography quickly made her one of the most prominent artists of the Pictures Generation from the 1980s. 

Although she often re-appropriated artists such as Hans Bellmer, her theatrical poses and costumes kept the bone of contention alive.  The strongest part of MoMA’s Cindy Shermanare the society portraits from 2008 that were first exhibited at Metro Pictures Gallery.  All of the images in this series are untitled as the artist portrays the early years of senior life on a monolithic scale.

The subject’s sour gaze and defiant pose remind viewers what they have to look forward to.  The aging sitter struggles with her own representations.  From the elder Southern Belle, to the deficient family heir, to the Upper East Side widow, Cindy Sherman becomes a sign of what most women wish to avoid.

Cindy Sherman will be on view at the Museum of Modern Art until June 11, 2012.

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About Jill Conner

Jill Conner is New York Editor for Whitehot Magazine and is a Contributor to Afterimage, Art in America, ArtUS, Art Papers, Interview and Sculpture. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
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