See How Cindy Sherman’s Photography Evolved in Her New UK Survey, From the Famous Film Stills to Her Trippy Instagram Portraits

The show explores how the photographer has remained an essential voice in the age of social media.

Cindy Sherman's Untitled #466, 2008. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery.
Cindy Sherman's Untitled #466, 2008. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery.

“Cindy Sherman”

National Portrait Gallery, London, on view through September 15, 2019

 

What the Museum Says: “This major new retrospective will explore the development of Sherman’s work from the mid-1970s to the present day, and will feature around 150 works from international public and private collections, as well as new work never before displayed in a public gallery.

Focusing on the artist’s manipulation of her own appearance and her deployment of material derived from a range of cultural sources, including film, advertising, and fashion, the exhibition will explore the tension between façade and identity.”

Why It’s Worth a Look: How could it not be? Sherman’s work has never not felt relevant. In the late 1970s and early ‘80s, at the dawn of satellite TV, her chameleonic self-portraits brilliantly tapped into the postmodern anxiety that we’re perpetually watching and being watched. Forty-some years later, she has her finger on the pulse of another cultural anxiety: the stranglehold social media has on our minute-to-minute attention. While this isn’t Sherman’s first retrospective (though it is only such exhibition ever staged in the UK), no show has made a more concerted effort to chart the through lines of the artist’s early photos to the wacky, Instagram-ready work she makes today.

What It Looks Like:

Cindy Sherman, <i>Untitled #122</i> (1983). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled #122 (1983). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, <i>Untitled Film Still #21”</i> (1978). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #21 (1978). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, <i>Untitled Film Still #15</i> (1978). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #15 (1978). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, <i>Untitled #413</i> (2003). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled #413 (2003). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, <i>Untitled Film Still #17</i> (1978). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #17 (1978). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, <i>Untitled Film Still #56</i> (1980). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #56 (1980). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, <i>Untitled #577</i> (2016/18). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled #577 (2016/18). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, <i>Untitled Film Still #74</i> (1980). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #74 (1980). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, <i>Untitled Film Still #92</i> (1981). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #92 (1981). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, <i>Untitled Film Still #574</i> (2016). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled #574 (2016). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, <i>Untitled Film Still #48</i> (1979). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #48 (1979). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #54 (1980). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #54 (1980). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman” is on view at the National Portrait Gallery through September 15, 2019.


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