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1000 WORDS: CINDY SHERMAN

A PLAY IN FOUR ACTS (plus finale) with a cast of sixteen, A Play of Selves was first staged . . . well, never. At least not exactly. Cindy Sherman completed the piece in 1976, when she was an undergraduate studying art at Buffalo State College in upstate New York and living above Hallwalls, the alternative space she had founded in 1974 with Robert Longo, Charlie Clough, and others. Having abandoned painting for photography, a medium that allowed her to enact a variety of private performances entirely for and by way of the camera, Sherman created seventy-two black-and-white tableaux that collectively articulate an austere but comic pantomime.

A Play of Selves tells the story of one woman’s Sybilian encounter with herself in the face of an epic, doomed (and sometimes humorously overdetermined) love affair. In what is perhaps Sherman’s only work that can accurately be described as “autobiographical,”

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