If you’re in New York this weekend, you’re probably going to the fairs (Armory, Scope, Volta, Independent, etc), but if you can, do yourself a favor and get to the MoMA for the Cindy Sherman retrospective.
I liked Sherman’s work before, though I always thought of her in the context of the Pictures Generation. Now, after seeing this world-class exhibition of her work, I’m convinced about her unique position in 21st-century contemporary art. There are many bodies of works in the exhibition, and a few—Untitled Film Stills, the history paintings, and the more recent grand dames—alone would make fantastic accomplishments for one artist’s lifetime. Some little-seen works really add to the visit, too. Sherman is an incredible photographer and artist, and I left feeling very inspired to be prolific, think big, and take risks.
(For example, I’ve been daydreaming about a forthcoming series of large collage/posters, envisioning a series of 10. Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills knocked my socks off—all 69 of them. Time to up the scale of my ambition, and do work!)
(Also, female self-portraitists, cliché of art schools: Bring it or quit it! Sherman’s A-game comes at risk to her, and the viewers benefit with immense rewards. Making vulnerable self-portraits in a very general way about “the gaze” can be like working on your punching form by hitting the air. It’s how you start, but sooner or later, you either step into the ring, or move on to Zumba.)
Cindy Sherman is on view at the MoMA through June 26. If you can’t make it, there’s a nicely organized exhibition website, though it’s just a sampling of the pictures and details you’d see in the exhibition. (Typography nerds will appreciate the fluctuating typefaces for this identity-upending show.)