Sherman’s specious portraits are a travesty in the fullest and best sense of the word and as such are a very unsettling exploration of the reality of simulacra. Where exactly is the real in a photograph of a modern artist in plastic breasts and flea-market clothes imitating a 16th-century painting of an idealized sitter? The confusion deepens precisely because the sumptuous and slightly odd photographs are very familiar yet not quite distinct enough to assign to a particular historical work. The technique of examining artistic stereotypes through mockery is the same in Sherman’s superb aping of 1950s B movies, Cindy Sherman: Untitled Film Stills (Rizzoli, 1990). Both books are recommended as the best exposition of photography’s ability to challenge the existing artistic canon.