Cindy Sherman is an American photographer and film director, best known for her conceptual portraits in which she uses herself as the model. She takes on the role of photographer, model and stylist, disguising herself with make-up, wigs, costumes and prosthetics. I’ve been meaning to see this for ages and finally got myself to MoMA before her exhibit closes on Monday, June 11. There is only one day left; try to catch it if you can!
I really loved the show and did not expect to both laugh out loud and be physically horrified so much within the same time frame. Whether she’s taking on history, clowns, film, politics, sexuality, diseases, or women who look like they’re from Jersey Shore, I was captivated and felt immersed within each world Sherman personally created for us.
My favorite piece was her early stop-animation work entitled Doll Clothes, where the female doll is first seen behind plastic, anxiously waiting to come out and play. You can view this short film on Vimeo here:
Speaking of dolls and their parts, I felt inspired by Cindy Sherman to use myself in an art piece, which is something I rarely (if ever) do. I started out with a different concept but allowed it to take on other shapes and forms. Here is the result:
Last but not least, how can I talk about playing dress up without mentioning my beloved Amy Sedaris? Amy is an American comedic actress, best know for playing Jerri Blank in Strangers with Candy, and like Sherman is also in her 50’s. From reading David Sedaris, I have learned that since childhood his sister has been active in creating different characters and walking around in fat-suits, while later stuffing lemons in her bra for the cover of BUST and talking about her imaginary boyfriend, Ricky, in interviews. She appears most comfortable in these external personas rather than playing herself, but unlike Sherman, Sedaris seems to do it more for entertainment value than high art.
I love these women; both unafraid to look ugly and morph into these limitless identities. For the full Cindy Sherman photo gallery, visit the MoMA exhibition website here.