PRINT September 2000


LITERATURE MIGHT BE THE WRONG PLACE TO BEGIN. Invoking words, when looking at pictures, is cheating. Yet Cindy Sherman's work has consistently sidestepped photography's silent modality and seduced viewers with murmured tales, or their trappings. First came the Hollywood B-movie stories. Later, stories from pornography and horror films. Always, characters pulled her mise-en-scène's strings—the fetishist, the pervert, the voyeur, the cineast, the necrophiliac, the mad scientist, and the department-store window dresser left alone at night with undead, plastic incubi.

The story I remembered on first seeing the new Sherman photos (exhibited at Gagosian in Beverly Hills this past spring, and to be shown at Metro Pictures in New York this fall), was Tennessee Williams's “The Night of the Iguana,” which appeared in his 1948 collection, One Arm. I'm certain Andy Warhol read the book when it

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