New York

Cindy Sherman

Metro Pictures

Looking at Cindy Sherman’s recent photos, I thought, eventually, of what in the lit-crit practice of my college years used to be called “image clusters”: groups of related metaphors and other verbal figures that run through the works of some writers—Shakespeare, Dickens—embedding a mood and character in the language of each text. Given how fast such authors worked, on the schedules of theaters and journals, I couldn’t imagine they consciously planned these scattered but pervasive linguistic knots; they can’t have had time. But apparently they were so immersed, their minds so fully engaged, that words came to them from . . . oh, somewhere, already meshed in lattices of evocative imagery.

That’s the kind of mental access Sherman has. Instantly obvious in this terrific show was the sharpness of her conscious observation, both social and psychological. Her newest cast of characters—a stunningly

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