Cindy Sherman: American cipher

I read the review of the Cindy Sherman, SFMoMA show and it instantly snapped me back to my first memory of her.

Having just transplanted to New York City from the Midwest in the late 80s I was trying to make sense of large-scale train graffiti, an evolving urban lexicon… and Ivan Boesky’s Wall Street rhetoric.

I distinctly remember seeing Cindy Sherman’s work at a Whitney Biennial and feeling… some kind of understanding… even an odd kinship with her work.

Her conceptual portraits were a metaphor for what I was feeling… a stranger in a strange land.

Hip hop was being birthed, much of the city was in gross disrepair and was dangerous (unlike today). Wall Street had run amuck… it was a dynamic, morphing time.

Cindy Sherman, like the people I saw around me, was shape-shifting her exterior to adapt. She’s been doing the same thing since those days. She embraced this process as an art form and has spent her life drawing attention to issues connected to women’s roles and related representation.

I’m not sure I understand her work and yet… it makes more sense to me than the celebrity-making machinery that has become a large part of the American experience.

Spend a few minutes on this page. It’s like looking a cultural looking glass.

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