Cindy Sherman (born January 19, 1954 in New Jersey) is an American photographer and film director, best known for her conceptual portraits. She is widely recognized as one of the most important and influential artists in contemporary art. Throughout her career, she has presented a sustained, eloquent, and provocative exploration of the construction of contemporary identity and the nature of representation, drawn from the unlimited supply of images from movies, TV, magazines, the Internet, and art history. Working as her own model for more than 30 years, Sherman has captured herself in a range of guises and personas which are at turns amusing and disturbing, distasteful and affecting. To create her photographs, she assumes multiple roles of photographer, model, makeup artist, hairdresser, stylist, and wardrobe mistress. With an arsenal of wigs, costumes, makeup, prosthetics, and props, Sherman has deftly altered her physique and surroundings to create a myriad of intriguing tableaus and characters, from screen siren to clown to aging socialite.
Sherman uses disguise to make her own individuality disappear, while highlighting the way that identity is constructed on representation. Her work, then, has a particular importance in the context of postmodern feminism, because while forming this critique of the systems of gender construction and its image in the media, she is using tools such as simulation, theatricality and her own body.
Works by Sherman are held in, among others, the Tate Gallery, London; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Broad, Los Angeles; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; the Australian National Gallery, Canberra; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin.
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