Recent snaps of Cindy Sherman with new beau David Byrne reveal a woman gracefully becoming more beautiful as she swans into late middle age. It is a reminder that Cindy has always disciplined herself with the determination of an Olympic athlete.
Combine this with an egoless self-effacement when she's actually in the room with you and you have the elements of a fable. Once, almost two decades ago, I stood near another Cindy, Cindy Crawford, at a party for Alain Mikli eyeglasses, a small dark man next to me. After half an hour, a friend sidled by and said as the man glided away, "That was Robert DeNiro."
The presence of her absence is a similar distinguishing characteristic of Cindy Sherman, the chameleon with a spine of diamonds.
Imagine watching herself preparing to shoot herself for the camera, every move choreographed with the precision of a classic Disney Movie: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Bambi. Enveloping herself with costumes, grease paint and toys, we lose ourselves in her enveloping masque. She is a sexpot and Mom, the pompom girl and the hag in the hallway.
Cindy enjoyed the cathartic, richly hued pictures she did of her vomit and entrails in the early 1990s; yet when she is at her grossest, the esthetic rewards, in an abstract sense, are the richest.
Now, as she really ages, she self-actualizes through the pictures that others take of her. It as if the whole point of all her decades of dolling up is to become Cindy Crawford, after all. Horndog David Byrne seems to think so, milking Sherman's looks with a shit-eating grin.
Cindy has emerged from her apron, the dirty-scrubbing of art-making drifting into the past, ready for the ball, the rest of us so many mice and pumpkins. Worship at her throne, she's no longer alone, she is loved at last!! Cindy, Cindy, Cindy. . . .
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).