PRINT December 1985


Cindy Sherman's camera kabuki.

THE CRITICISM THAT views Cindy Sherman’s role-playing photography as a deconstruction of female stereotypes (like a latter-day August Sander project, but with media images of women replacing his cataloguing of the German people), while applicable, now seems too academic and willful for the transvestism that Sherman has been staging of late. Her recent transformational characters, whether created with expressive makeup, lighting, and shadows or with the use of masks, whether she appears as a snout-faced pig or as a bearded man, have such a stylized, out-of-time, out-of-sex quality that they leave the politics of our time and enter the magical time of make-believe.

Fantasy is as much a part of Sherman’s art as is a theoretical analysis of the roles we play, and of the selves we’re offered as models. Even in her earlier “film stills” series, 1977–80, about movie typecasting, there’s a deeply

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