Sunday, March 18, 2012
The Cindy Sherman retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, NYC, demonstrates the photographer’s consistent ability to disturb and provoke. Mainly using herself as a model, Sherman employs costumes, settings and makeup to undermine and expose identity, particularly female identity in Western culture. For this viewer, the most affecting portraits were of society women desperately clinging to youth and glamour. In the portrait above (Untitled # 474, 2008), Sherman poses as one such matron, and the artifice involved–especially a face so made up it seems like a mask–is obvious, purposely so. The adopted persona represents an attempt to hide the vulnerability and fear beneath and to ward off mortality–an effort that will, of course, fail. Such revelations show the complexity of Sherman’s work in its compassion and cruelty.
“Cindy Sherman” will be on view through June 11 at the Museum of Modern Art; (212) 708-9400, moma.org