Playing Dress Up: Cindy Sherman at MoMA

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.

Housing Works Illustration

I have been fortunate to work with the incredible people of Housing Works for several projects now, and was extra honored when the creative & marketing staff specifically requested me for their Spring 2012 brochure. With 32,000 copies made, in-store posters, ads in Time Out New York, and artwork illustrating this Sunday’s Housing Works Open Air Street Fair, I was super excited to collaborate! You can now pick up this brochure at any one of your local Housing Works. Here is a sample of the illustration process:

I was at the Park Slope location when I first saw the brochure & poster; I’m so happy with the way it all turned out:

Come & stop by the Open Air Street Fair THIS SUNDAY! June 3, 10am to 5pm on Crosby Street. There will be books, clothes, music, food and more. For more information, click the Housing Works site here. Hope to see you there! xo, artsparrow

Funny Girl

On this Mother’s Day, I am thinking about the most important women growing up in my own life, my Mother & Grandmother (who both passed away the same year, 2008), but left behind their greatest legacy to me: an incredible sense of humor! In honor of my Mom (above), I watched one of her favorite movies Yentil on her birthday this past April 10th. For this week, in order to honor her for Mother’s Day, I will take on another one of her Streisand favorites Funny Girl. I don’t know anything about the movie, but from a typography standpoint, I love the poster design!

It is because of these important women that in the face of tragedy or anxiety I can still be funny, witty, and throw on a 25¢ mustache to spruce up boring old laundry night. For this amazing gift ladies, I thank you, from the bottom of my ever-comedic heart. And in the words of my Grandmother, “make sure to always have a laugh.” Happy Mother’s Day!!! xo artsparrow

vintage photo, + art © 2012 Andrea Sparacio (artsparrow); Amanda Peet’s home tour © 2008 Domino Magazine; Mustache photo © 2011 Tim Mucci