Text from The Bulfinch Guide to Art History
Sherman, Cindy (b 1954)
American photographer. She studied at the University College of Buffalo in New York, where she became interested in photography and began exhibiting in 1976. From the beginning, she used photography to challenge the images and myths of popular culture and mass media. Initially, in her series of 'Film Stills', she made herself up in the role of characters from 'B' movies, and she followed up this theme in later series of photographs such as 'Back Screen' (1980) and 'Freaks' (1986). Increasingly, she turned to Old Master paintings for inspiration and created a series of photographs in which she dressed herself up as figures in famous works by Caravaggio, Raphael and others. These photographs crossed the boundaries between postmodern playfulness and the exploration of self through portraiture. Sherman has received mixed reactions from feminist viewers who question whether she subverts the codes of female subjugation or perpetuates those same codes by constantly using female stereotypes.
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