Cindy Sherman (American, b.1954) is a photographer who incorporates aspects of feminism, performance art, cultural criticism, and the body and identity politics into her provocative work. Sherman abandoned painting for photography while attending the State University of New York at Buffalo, and in 1976, moved to New York City to pursue a career as a photographer.
She gained broad critical acclaim for her famous early series Untitled Film Stills, taking photographs of herself dressed as invented characters embodying female clichés, such as ‘the bored housewife’, ‘the sexy librarian’, and ‘the ambitious career girl’. Sherman continued to use herself as a subject in several other series, including her History Portraits, in which she inserted herself into Old Master paintings as a way of reexamining the role of the female within them. She mainly photographed herself in disguises, and explored the darker side of culture in her depictions of perverted fairy tales, war, and sex. Through her work, Sherman examined anxiety, disgust, the lurid, and the grotesque. She is the recipient of the MacArthur Award and Hasselblad Award for Photography, among other honors. Sherman has more recently returned to using her own body in her work as the subject of simplified portraits of female types. She lives and works in New York City.