Before the age of social media and its painstakingly sculpted personae, Pictures Generation artist Cindy Sherman had already established herself as the art world’s reigning queen of self-reinvention, using the camera to morph into one character after another. Though her works are technically not self-portraits, Sherman’s method of turning the lens onto herself is uncannily appropriate to our times, in which the stage-managed selfie has become so ubiquitous that it’s now fodder for exhibitions and often cited as an art form in itself.
For an artist whose practice is based almost entirely on how she presents herself, Sherman has managed to remain camera-shy in her life outside of the studio. Yet, in a surprising move, the photographer has recently taken to Instagram to share images of herself that echo photographs typically reserved for gallery walls. Not only does this provide a generous look into her process for her fans, it also raises the question: Is Cindy Sherman using Instagram to make new work? After all, Richard Prince applied his appropriation-art approach to Instagram to acclaim, heated controversy, and profit—why shouldn’t Sherman embrace the medium as well?
The account, which mysteriously switched from private to public in recent months, is a mix of personal photos alongside Sherman’s ever-famous manipulated images of herself. (While the account is not verified with Instagram’s official blue check mark, artnet News understands that it is authentic.) The eerie images of herself began appearing in mid-May; the first one carries the caption, “Selfie! No filter, hahaha.”
What we see here is somewhat of a departure from the artist’s traditional model: the frame is tighter and closer to her face, in what is clear use of a phone’s front-facing camera. Plus, the subject matter is decidedly intimate in comparison to her usual work—the latest posts document a stay in the hospital. She may even be having fun with filters.
Take a peek below at a selection of images from the account. Whether they constitute a new series or not, the images provide a heady glimpse into the life and mind of the artist.
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