Cindy Sherman (b. 1954), Untitled (Male/Female Artist), 1980/2012; Diptych of two silver gelatin prints, 41/150, Work: 10 x 8 in. (25.4 x 20.32 cm) each Frame: 17 x 13.5 x 1.5 in. (43.18 x 34.29 x 3.81 cm) each Image: 9.25 x 6.12 in. (23.49 x 15.54 cm) each; Collection of the Burchfield Penney Art Center, Purchased from the Art Acquisition Fund, 2019
Cindy Sherman is an internationally celebrated photographer, film director, and one of the founders of Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center. She is recognized as one of the most important living contemporary artists, recognized with many honors including a MacArthur Fellowship. Her provocative art is critically acclaimed, and she is best known for her conceptual self-portraits produced in series. Consistently her feminist strategies critique the way women have been portrayed in the media, challenging aesthetic concepts of beauty and cultural stereotypes. In counterpoint, she later sardonically tested the limits of public acceptance of death and the grotesque in large-scale, scenic compositions staged with a full array of theatrical props, including prosthetics. In more recent photographs, she represents how society’s uncompromising expectations of eternal youth and beauty create an environment in which women often feel compelled to embrace artificiality rather than accept and appreciate the natural aging process.
Sherman’s work is represented in every major museum collection in the world. A retrospective of her work was recently presented at the National Portrait Gallery in London and travelled internationally. Sherman discovered her love of photography while studying at Buffalo State College, but her artistic career encompasses more than photography. In 1997, she made her directorial debut with the art-house horror film/black comedy Office Killer and in 1998 made a cameo in the comedy Pecker, directed by John Waters. — Nancy Weekly