Los An­ge­les’ new con­tem­po­rary art mu­seum, The Broad, is hon­our­ing pho­tog­ra­phy phe­nom Cindy Sher­man in its in­au­gu­ral spe­cial ex­hi­bi­tion. Guest cu­ra­tor Philipp Kaiser dis­cusses Sher­man’s en­dur­ing ap­peal in our im­age­sat­u­rated world.


What makes Cindy Sher­man so iconic?

By pho­tograph­ing her­self (she usually works alone), her chameleon-like per­sonas gen­er­ate works of ut­ter beauty and dis­tur­bance, bor­row­ing the lan­guage of me­dia from cin­ema and tele­vi­sion, to ad­ver­tis­ing, the Internet, and even Old Mas­ter paint­ings. Her per­sis­tence to fo­cus on the frag­mented self for al­most 40 years is rad­i­cal and dis­tinct.

What fresh take does this ex­hibit of­fer?

For the show, Cindy cre­ated two enor­mous mu­rals, which are based on her early rear-screen pro­jec­tions and wel­come the viewer into her world. Along with sev­eral new pho­to­graphs, the ex­hi­bi­tion of­fers a com­pre­hen­sive sur­vey of her work since 1975.

Sher­man’s work is of­ten con­sid­ered to have a fem­i­nist agenda. What’s your take on this?

It can’t be de­nied that her work has a strong fem­i­nist an­gle. Over the years, many crit­ics have fo­cused on Cindy’s prac­tice of stag­ing stereo­types within a fem­i­nist frame­work. At the same time, the fact needs to be stressed that her work has gone way be­yond gen­der specifics and deals with rep­re­sen­ta­tion in mass me­dia in gen­eral.

Cindy Sher­man: Im­i­ta­tion of Life runs June 11 to Oc­to­ber 2, at The Broad. Visit for the full in­ter­view.

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