Cindy Sherman

(b. 1954)

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(1954– ).

Photographer and filmmaker. Photographing herself in varied guises, she regularly invokes female stereotypes to undermine appearance as the measure of selfhood, while also highlighting the role of commercial mass media in forming contemporary values. Born in the New York suburb of Glen Ridge, New Jersey, Cynthia Sherman grew up on Long Island, in the north shore town of Huntington. After graduating from the State University College at Buffalo in 1976, she moved to New York the following year with her boyfriend, Robert Longo. In 1978 she embarked on the project that first brought her name to widespread attention. The black-and-white Untitled Film Stills picture the artist impersonating recognizable types from earlier mainstream movies. Her characters range from sultry to domestic, from career girl to bad girl. In 1980 she began working in color most of the time, and the size of her prints gradually expanded during that decade. Initiating an increasingly provocative and even offensive approach, the sequences of Disasters and Fairy Tales stress the morbid and grotesque. After concentrating for a time on models other than herself, in 1989 she showed up again in the imaginary History Portraits. In the 1990s she used mannequins and prosthetic body parts for works stressing sex, mutilation, and abasement. Sherman made her debut as a film director in 1997, with the release of Office Killer, a horror comedy. In 2000 she returned to her early straightforward approach in fictional personas mostly parodying the milieu of Hollywood glamour. More recently, clowns have entered her repertoire. In 1984 she married French-born video artist Michael Auder (1944– ), but they divorced nearly fifteen years later.

Subjects: Art.

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