Contemporary Art, 1960s–present

Postmodernism and Art

Who is Cindy Sherman?

Cindy Sherman (1954–) is a postmodern photographer known for her conceptual manipulations of media images and her use of self-portraiture. Sherman’s photographs explore feminine identity and question the way women are portrayed in art and popular culture. In her series Untitled Film Stills, from the late 1970s and early 1980s, Sherman takes on the role of a female icon, a “blond bombshell” such as Marilyn Monroe, and other stereotypical clichés. Her characters range from self-aware to subdued to comical. Her later work takes on art history. In Untitled #224, Sherman becomes Bacchus, the ancient God of wine as imagined in the work of baroque artist Caravaggio, her eyes peering out from under a crown of grape leaves. Through her work, Cindy Sherman becomes the composite of the many images and film references she makes, leading the viewer to question the reality—or artificiality—of not only the artist’s identity, but of the way in which subjects are portrayed in art and popular culture.


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