For Glenwood Residents living in our Midtown Manhattan apartments, this photography exhibition is must see. Actually, it is must see for everyone, especially after you've finished taking in all the art of New York Art Fair Weekend. The huge, career-spanning Cindy Sherman retrospective that just opened at the Museum of Modern Art was certainly one of the most hotly-anticipated shows of the spring season and, after about an hour spent staring at the revolutionary artist in all of her many, many, MANY guises, we have to say that, for the most part, the photography exhibition delivers on the hype. Here in more than 170 photographs–many of them quite massive, all of them provocative or engaging enough to demand at least moment of your attention–we see Sherman's endless creativity in reworking her chosen form (call it the self-portrait that is most decidedly NOT of the self) and totally nailing the era in which she's working each and every time. That's not to say that our enthusiasm didn't flag a bit here and there at the Cindy Sherman MoMA retrospective, but there's no denying that her sense of humor, her anger, her energy, and her influence on contemporary art all becomes enormously obvious.
Our Favorite Parts of Cindy Sherman Photography at the Museum of Modern Art
Our favorite parts of the Cindy Sherman MoMA exhibition, interestingly enough, came at the very beginning and the very end. First off, there's what we consider her most original and most compelling work, the pathbreaking series of black-and-white photo, Cindy Sherman Untitled Film Stills, for which Sherman cast herself in imaginary scenes from imaginary movies, taking the cliched female role of femme fatale, or the gun moll, or Euro art house heroine, or any number of other iconic characters. Taken from 1977 through 1980, the whole series is on display here, every one of these 69 shots feels instantly recognizable, like you already know the whole story of this woman. We can only imagine how much fun Sherman must have had acting as location scout, stylist, costume director, "cinematographer," all of it. We walked through this gallery four times, and still would like to go back and see it all again.
We also really loved Cindy Sherman's recent work, shot in the late aught years and portraying what we'll call Park Avenue society matrons and mid-life-crisis "party girls". The discomfort and desperation, the misguided self-satisfaction that Sherman captures here is dead-on familiar to anyone who's ever spent any time in certain precincts of this glorious city. There are other terrific pieces and series' throughout the Cindy Sherman MoMA retrospective as well, including her powerful mid-1980s grotesqueries, shot at the peak of the city's AIDS disaster; and her "PTA moms" taken at the turn of the millennium. Really, it's only Sherman's historical portraits (because: too obvious?) and her clowns (because: clowns) that we don't quite get. But that's ok. Cindy Sherman at the MoMA is exactly the sort of exhibition that makes this museum, with all of its resources, such a New York City treasure, offering us a complete, well-thought-out education on an artist, and a movement.
Cindy Sherman Retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art Details
The Cindy Sherman photography exhibition will be at the MoMA through June 11. The Museum of Modern Art is located on 53rd Street between Sixth and Fifth Avenues, and is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and on Friday until 8:00 p.m., when admission is free after 4:00 p.m. Closed Tuesdays. For lots more information about Cindy Sherman photography as well as the Museum of Modern Art, please visit the MoMA's website, here.