Saltz on Four Never-Before-Seen Photographs by Cindy Sherman The Gaga-esque*: Towering frame-filling blonde Kabuki Venus in pink-bonnet babushka, helmeted in lemon hair, upturned angelic eyes blinded by starstruck self-image stupor. The girl next door dreaming of divadom of a half-thought dimension. Gladiator-masked Madonna. *Sherman describes this as a “sketch,” a preliminary idea rather than a final product.
Cecil Beaton once said that “making oneself a work of art” was “that most difficult of all causes.” Cindy Sherman not only does that, she’s given herself up entirely to the mission. For nearly four decades, she has been braiding together fashion, photography and the strange internal magic of herself -- dressing up, putting on makeup, doing her hair, donning wigs and posing alone in her studio for the camera. She shows us fashion as costume, compulsion, camp, ritual and necessity. We see the ways fabric and cosmetics touch our bodies in public and how these performances of self make us visible, invisible, awful, sublime. Fashion helps Cindy hide in plain sight; in turn, she plays havoc with fashion. She is our greatest female impersonator.