National Museum of Women in the Arts
Cindy Sherman
January 19 1954 - present
Photograph of Cindy Sherman, by Mark Seliger, courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures Gallery, New York, NY, USA
Place of Birth:
Glen Ridge
Phonetic Spelling:
SIHN-dee SHERR-mehn
Minority status:
White non-Hispanic
Work Type/Media:
Multimedia (electronic, digital, video, film), Photography
Artistic Role(s):
Director (Film), Photographer
Artist's Biography:
Cindy Sherman was born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey in 1954 and graduated from State University of New York at Buffalo in 1976. In the late 1970s, Sherman began a series of black and white photographs, which she named Untitled Film Stills, (1977 to 1980), and were first exhibited at the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston, Texas in 1980. The series cemented her position in post-modern photography and since then Sherman has continually worked to challenge the boundaries of the medium. In almost all of her works, Sherman acts as model, photographer, and director, and alters her appearance beyond recognition through makeup, prosthetics and costumes.

Although she began her career using black and white photography, Sherman transitioned to color film in the early 1980s. Her use of costume and makeup challenged the way in which portraiture was considered. She further challenged conventional means of viewing the human form in 1992 with her Sex Pictures series, which involved life-sized prosthetics as models in contorted and gender-crossing positions. In her recent work, Sherman has reintroduced herself as the model. From fairytales and history portraits to horror films and the nostalgia of the 1950s and 1960s films, Sherman consistently examines a woman’s role in society and questions the ways in which the viewer looks at and identifies with the woman portrayed.

Her work has been shown throughout the United States and Europe, and Metro Pictures in New York has shown her work since 1980. In 1997, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, California held a retrospective of her work, Cindy Sherman: Retrospective, and in 1999, Sherman was the recipient of the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography, which recognized her influence on photography from the late 1970s onward. She lives and works in New York.

Place(s) of Residence:
New York
Where Trained/Schools:
State University of New York, Buffalo, NY, USA (1972-1976)
Related Visual Artists:
student of Barbara Jo Revelle wife of Michel Auder friend of Robert Longo influenced by Eleanor Antin influenced by Suzy Lake influenced by Adrian Piper influenced Patty Chang
Fellowships, grants and awards:
Fellowship, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Chicago, IL, USA (1995) Fellowship, John Simon Guggenhiem Memorial, New York, NY, USA (1983) Grant, National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, DC, USA (1977)
Earliest exhibition:
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY, USA (1979) (first one woman show)
NMWA exhibition(s):
A History of Women Photographers
WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution
Defining Eye: Women Photographers of the 20th Century
Steven Scott Collects: Donations and Promised Gifts to the Permanent Collection
Artist retrospective(s):
Cindy Sherman: Retrospective, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA, USA (1997) exhibition traveled through 2000
Untitled [Lucy]