The Cindy Sherman retrospective opened at MoMA last week. I am conflicted about her work. I love the early film stills--who doesn't?--and while I find the recent "society portraits" fun to look at, they feel like gags to me. There is a lot in between, of course, and her photography has played an important role in shaping the discourse on art and gender in the 1980s, as well as representing principles of postmodernism. It is undeniable that Sherman has had an extraordinarily influential career. I am hard pressed to think of another artist who has had as much impact over the past thirty years.
I'm blown away by MoMA's interactive website....what an amazing companion to the exhibition. It is tempting to say, especially with photography, that maybe it isn't necessary to see the actual show. But Sherman's later photographs are blown up to the scale of history paintings and their drama is surely much diminished in computer screen encounters! The interactive has a leveling effect, making the early and late work seem similar in scale and presentation, and this is very deceptive. The historical and material specificity of her photographs is lost. That said, it's an invaluable resource for those who can't see the show itself.