For more than 30 years now, Cindy Sherman has been enacting a gamut of female roles and identities. Contrary to popular belief, the famous Untitled Film Stills (1978-80) are not Sherman’s earliest works, but rather those photographs she took as a student at State University College at Buffalo, between 1975 and 1977. During those years, Sherman cast aside the career in painting she had initially imagined for herself and began to study photography: “I was meticulously copying other art and then I realized I could just use a camera and put my time into an idea instead,” she later recalled. Cindy Sherman: The Early Works, 1975-1977 gathers all of the artist’s work from this decisive phase, in which Sherman was formulating her conceptions of gender and identity construction, gathering her toolkit of props (wigs, makeup, costumes) and becoming friends with artists such as Robert Longo (with whom she would establish the Hallwalls gallery in New York). With nearly 300 plates, including numerous previously unknown photographs, plus scholarly research by editor Gabriele Schor, this substantial volume adds a wealth of new information to our understanding of Sherman’s oeuvre.
Cindy Sherman (born 1954) is one of America’s most influential living artists. Born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, she was raised on Long Island and studied at State University College, Buffalo. Upon graduation she moved to New York and soon commenced work on the groundbreaking series that would make her name, Untitled Film Stills. In 1996, The Museum of Modern Art bought a complete set of the series for one million dollars.