New York

Cindy Sherman

Metro Pictures

Cindy Sherman’s latest photographs (all Untitled, 1988 and 1989), like her previous ones,will probably be called “shocking,” as if shock were itself a brave or startling artistic gesture. Once again, people will say that she’s upped the ante on nauseating imagery, gone over the top with the grotesque, and explored psychic terrain from which many viewers would rather avert their eyes. All of this may be provisionally true, but it misses the critical point that Sherman uses shock more as a ruse or decoy than as a mere representational effect. What’s really surprising about this new series is that Sherman is no longer in the pictures. In withdrawing herself from them, she robs them of the most obvious and essential aspect of what is thought to constitute “a Cindy Sherman.” In the past, Sherman deployed her own identity as a crucible for multiple, coded identities circulating throughout high

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