Sherman, Cindy

Cindy Sherman (b. 1954) has built a name as one of the most respected photographers of the late twentieth century by turning the camera on herself. Although, the majority of her photographs are pictures of her, however, these photographs are most definitely not self-portraits. Rather, Sherman uses herself as a vehicle for commentary on a variety of issues of the modern world: the role of the woman, the role of the artist and many more. It is through these ambiguous and eclectic photographs that Sherman has developed a distinct signature style. Through a number of different series of works, Sherman has raised challenging and important questions about the role and representation of women in society, the media and the nature of the creation of art.

Throughout her career, Sherman has appropriated numerous visual genres—including the film still, centerfold, fashion photograph, historical portrait, and soft-core sex image—while disrupting the operations that work to define and maintain their respective codes of representation. In addition to numerous group exhibitions, her work was the subject of solo exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (1982), Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (1987), Basel Kunsthalle (1991), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. (1995), Serpentine Gallery in London (2003), and Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin (2006), among others. Major traveling retrospectives of Sherman’s work have been organized by the Museum Boymans-van Beuningen in Rotterdam (1996), Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (1997), Museum of Modern Art in New York (1997), and Jeu de Paume in Paris (2007).

Because Sherman achieved international success at a relatively young age, her work has had a considerable maturation in value over the past decade. In 1999 the average selling price for one of her photographs was $20,000 to $50,000, a hefty sum for a female photographer. Even more ground-breaking was a 1999 Christie’s auction in which one of the photographs from Film Stills sold for a reported $190,000. This bid was perhaps inspired by the Museum of Modern Art’s lead: in 1996, they purchased a complete set from Film Stills for one million dollars. These prices are indicative of Sherman’s huge level of success, both critically and financially. Sherman’s popularity continues to grow around the world, as she has exhibited countries including Germany, Japan, France. Sherman continues to live and work in New York City today.