Performance Artist With Camera: Cindy Sherman, Imitation of Life

As its first temporary exhibition, The Broad has chosen to present “Imitation of Life,” a spectacular exhibition of more than 120 works by the legendary Cindy Sherman. Filling the museum’s entire first floor galleries and drawn from The Broad’s significant collection of her work, augmented by loans from other museums, the exhibition spans her career over a period of forty years.
Although her work is customarily described as photography, that is hardly an appropriate appellation. There is an important distinction. When we see images of human beings created with a camera, we customarily think of those images as photography. In Cindy Sherman’s oeuvre, we see an artist who uses a camera as a device to create images, mostly of herself, in a bewildering panoply of disguises.
Sherman is a performance artist with camera. Performance art flourished in the wake of the abstract expressionist movement in the 1960s and 1970s, primarily in New York. It embodied the creation of a works of art as a corollary of human activity. With the rise of feminism in the arts, female bodies were viewed as legitimate subjects of art expression. The current exhibition at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel testifies to the emergence of a school of female American sculptors in the Post World War II period.

Cindy Sherman
Cindy Sherman Untitled #122, 1983

Together, the photographs in this exhibition provide an elaborate overview of her career in featuring some of her most well-known series such as Film Stills in which she poses as her subject by nostalgically referencing B-movies of the 1950s and 1960s. Other series displayed are: centerfolds (1981), fairy tales (1985). history portraits (1989-90), sex pictures (1992) and clown pictures (2003-2004). Her most recent series focuses of 1920s film publicity stills of aging starlets.
Cindy Sherman
Cindy Sherman, Untitled # 512, 2010/2011

At The Broad through October 3, 2016.
The Broad
Gallery view, The Broad, 2016

Top image: Untitled, 1981, by Cindy Sherman.

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