1954 · United States
Cindy Sherman is an American photographer and filmmaker who uses self-portraits to explore and challenge the concepts of gender and identity. She is famous for engaging her own body in her works by staging roles such as in her important seminal series Untitled Film Stills (1977–1980). Born on January 19th, 1954 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey Cindy Sherman was enrolled in the visual art department of Buffalo College, where she began paintings. Later, attending the State University of New York at Buffalo; she abandoned paintings and started to use her body as a subject and challenge the traditional conception of photography as she explained: "I was meticulously copying other art, and then I realized I could just use a camera and put my time into an idea instead." She then moved to New York to develop her career. Sherman has a particularly contemporary approach to gender and femininity. Similarly to Diane Arbus and Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman works engage with making images that at first sight seem seductive by featuring colorful patterns, but that in the end aim to distort femininity as a social construct. Working as her model for more than 30 years, Sherman’s approach of photography directly blends with performance to make the viewer questioning his/her conception of gender and identity. Behind the role in her photographs, Cindy Sherman explores the large scope of photography making by assuming roles of makeup artist, stylist and plays with a wide range of costumes, objects, and prosthetics to produce new standpoints. Her creative output also combines filmmaking and videos such as in Untitled Film Stills (1977–1980) in which through black and white photographs Cindy Sherman plays with film characters from the 50s-60s to reveal stereotypes. In her most recent photographs series, Sherman has explored gender through various European portraits paintings from the Renaissance to the early nineteenth and draw attention to the artificiality of gender stereotypes and their much more complicated reality. Cindy Sherman art has been exhibited in many museums and more recently two retrospectives at The Museum of Modern Art in 2019, and at the National Portrait Gallery, in London in 2019. Cindy Sherman lives and works in New York, NY.