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American, born 1954
Cindy Sherman established her reputation—and a novel brand of uncanny self-portraiture—with her “Untitled Film Stills” (1977-80), a series of 69 photographs of the artist herself enacting female clichés of 20th-century pop culture. Though her work continually re-examines women’s roles in history and contemporary society, Sherman resists the notion that her photographs have an explicit narrative or message, leaving them untitled and largely open to interpretation. “I didn’t think of what I was doing as political,” she once said. “To me it was a way to make the best out of what I liked to do privately, which was to dress up.” Always in meticulous costumes, wigs, and makeup, Sherman has produced series in which she dresses as women from history paintings, fashion, and pornography. In the late 1980s and into the ’90s, she expanded her focus to more grotesque imagery, like the mutilated mannequins of her “Sex Pictures” (1992).