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Cindy Sherman…WTF?. Ms. O’Ryan’s 2012-2013 Media Arts Classes.

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Cindy sherman wtf
Cindy Sherman…WTF?

Ms. O’Ryan’s 2012-2013 Media Arts Classes


Cindy Sherman’s work is some of the highest paid photography ever sold. At a recent Christie Auction, one image sold for $190,000. She is known for changing the expectation of photography, women’s roles in society, and evolving conceptual art.


Cindy Sherman attended State University College of Buffalo in 1972 with the intention of studying art, primarily painting.

She quickly realized that the camera could demonstrate an idea much quicker and effectively than painting, switching majors.


Untitled film stills 1976 1980
Untitled film stills 1976-1980 in 1972 with the intention of studying art, primarily painting.

After graduation, she moved to NYC and began using herself as the model, tackling ideas such as women’s roles and conceptual photography. She never called her images self portraits; rather concepts. The focus was the idea and she placed distance between herself and the idea by wearing wigs, costumes. Titling them Untitled, this in itself placed more distance between her and the idea.


Playing with your expectations: in 1972 with the intention of studying art, primarily painting.

Cindy’s purpose was to disappoint you. Images of women in sexy poses were not meant to be perceived as such. So if you think she looks hot…well shame on you.

Emulating scenes from famous movies in the 1950’s, you feel as if you have seen that scene before…but you haven’t.


Each of her images are hard to place yet so familiar. Similarities to 1950 bombshells such as Marilyn Monroe.


Sophie Loren…1950 Bombshell Similarities to 1950 bombshells such as Marilyn Monroe.

More connections….


Rear Projection Series 1980-81 Similarities to 1950 bombshells such as Marilyn Monroe.

Images are confusing…and meant to be. Through the confusion, she continues to distance herself. Not only is the background not real, nor is her character in the scene.

Artwork evolved. She felt that she exhausted the black and white film stills so she began to play with color photography.


Historic Series 1988-1990 Similarities to 1950 bombshells such as Marilyn Monroe.

While living in Rome, she began emulating famous art pieces. Same idea: one feels that they have seen the work before but in fact you haven’t. Idea: to confuse, to show that one can reproduce an image (making a painting less valuable), and to evolve the expectation of photography out of fine art into conceptual.


Image by Cindy using prosthetics. Similarities to 1950 bombshells such as Marilyn Monroe.

Young Sick Bacchus by Caravaggio, 1953.


Conceptual Art: What does that mean? Similarities to 1950 bombshells such as Marilyn Monroe.


What are you doing? Similarities to 1950 bombshells such as Marilyn Monroe.

Brainstorm some idea. Ideas that are deeper in content, connect to you personally, and perhaps something that can relate to others. Write them down.

Plan. Think of how you can use yourself or perhaps others. Either way, YOU need to be in charge of the composition.

Experiment. Collect the photos that you do not want to use and put them in your sketchbook for reference.

Choose the best three and edit in PS. Determine if you want B&W or color…or both.

Once finished, write a description and reflection on your wiki.


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