Cindy Sherman is a woman of many faces and talents, but is best known for her unparalleled and breakthrough work as a photographer. Always interested in the arts, Sherman would pick up the paint brush first in an effort to portray the ideas trapped in her mind. Yet, she found painting a practice of copying, and decided to try out photography instead, which allowed her to focus on portraying her ideas in a more original fashion. And with a camera in her hand, a hearty collection of wigs, makeup and prosthetics, and usually photographing herself, Sherman would become one of the most influential people in contemporary art, tackling such modern-day issues as the role of women in society. Her “Untitled Film Stills” (1977-1980) introduced an artist to be reckoned with and displayed her trademark originality. These groundbreaking black and white photographs gained Sherman international recognition and consisted of the photographer herself posing in the stereotypical female roles of 1950s and 1960s film noir. Following her success with the “Untitled Film Stills,” Sherman continued to dabble in provocative and analytical work, centering on themes from fairy tales to pornography. In 1995, her abilities were “officially” recognized when she won the MacArthur Fellowship or the “Genius Award” as her photographs sold for millions, including a print of “Untitled #96” for $3.8 million.
Now, her work is available to the public in a new exhibit from February 26 – June 11 at the MoMA. The exhibit includes her legendary work in “Untitled Film Stills,” including her history series with Sherman posing as individuals in the manner of old master paintings as well as her photographic murals (2010), which will make their American premiere at the MoMA. With such talent, and vision, Cindy Sherman has wowed audiences with her thought-provoking work and, hopefully, there is more to come from this rightfully acclaimed genius. — Nicole Ellul
image: Untitled Film Still #21, 1978, Gelatin silver print, 7 1/2 x 9 1/2″ (19.1 x 24.1 cm), The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Horace W. Goldsmith Fund through Robert B. Menschel
February 24th, 2012