Cindy Sherman at MOMA
Although just coming off a long trip, I could not pass an opportunity to stop in New York City to see amazing art. The Cindy Sherman Retrospective at MOMA was my main goal and first stop. It was amazing. Her body of work is very extensive. Each room led you through a new series that explored a different set of characters, discussing different ideas. There was a great audio guide that included interviews with Sherman as well as the Curator of the show. Displayed chronologically, Sherman’s work began as smaller pieces, all done on film. As she trades this in for a digital format, her works increases in size. Her last series of Society Portraits were larger than lifesize. I have admired her work for a while, enjoying how Sherman is a chameleon of disguise.
I did not know that ARTFORUM had commissioned work from Sherman, but decided against printing the Centerfold series. Shot in a typical centerfold magazine size and fashion, all of the women are shot from above, revealing vulnerability. Apparently the editor felt the women had just gotten raped, to which Sherman responded that all of her pieces are Untitled because she does not label them in any category.
Yet, French Vogue had no problem printing her series for them of over done, over partied satirical models in couture clothing. I love the French attitude! She also did another designer shoot for Pop Magazine. Here she is stiff and uncomfortable, playing a slave to fashion in Chanel.
She has the talent to create female characters that are women you can identify with and yet so over the top, you know you have never seen a woman like that before. It feels awkward using the word “character” because these women all exist on their own. I never once moved onto the next piece and thought “Here’s Cindy Sherman, now in a mullet.”
Entering the Historical Portrait room, I am immediately struck by the image of Cindy Sherman as Caravaggio’s Sick Bacchus. It is interesting that just a few months earlier I was viewing the original in Fort Worth. I already know that this is a self portrait of Caravaggio as Bacchus, the Roman name for the Greek God Dionysus, the god of wine, drunkenness, and ritual madness. This is a portrait of Sherman as Caravaggio as Bacchus. Sherman is placing herself in the male role of a god as well as turning an oil painting into the current medium of photography.
Her series of portraits that all looked like they were done at Sears was fantastic! It is her attention to the tiny details that make each woman an individual.
The originality that Sherman puts forth is fresh and exciting to look at. As I continued through her immense show, every room left me wanting to know who she was going to become next. I spent several hours wandering through this exhibit as well as the rest of the amazing permanent collection until I was kicked out at closing.
All photos were taken by me, from the Cindy Sherman MOMA Catalog. Courtesy of J Maldonado.