Cindy Sherman

Catalogue- Cindy Sherman at Queensland Art Gallery


We visited the Cindy Sherman Brisbane exhibition in July 2016.

This was an exhibition of Cindy Sherman’s work from the year 2000.

The exhibition was better than I had thought prior to the visit. The exhibition reminded me of several issues around exhibitions.

sherman2One was just how many people look at online images and from that experience think that they have seen the exhibition. This view is just so wrong on so many levels.

In the case of this exhibition the online images did provide the information of what was in the exhibition but not the experience of being in front of the photographs.

This was very much the case with Cindy Sherman’s latest works (2016 series) and the 2008 series of celebrity portraits.

sherman6For me the 2016 photographs were the best in the exhibition. This was not only because of her subject matter and how she beautifully portrayed the characters, but also because these photographs were the richest – being best produced.

So many colour photographs are wonderful because of the colour and the subject matters and the artist’s take on the subject, but many do no seem to appreciate the beauty of a well printed and sumptuous photograph. In these latest photographs, Cindy Sherman demonstrates she understands this.

You had to be in the room to experience the quality of these images. Then there was the extra experience of having them all in the one space, whereby the images all relate and speak to each other. This does not happen with any online viewing.

sherman5So if you had not gathered by now, the best of this exhibition was the last set (2016) plus the portraits from 2008.

As for most of the exhibition, yes I was taken with her various series, some more than others– and the whole exhibition experience was one that has stayed with me.

Since then I have had a read of the exhibition catalogue (borrowed) and it was a good experience to revisit the images.

blog-cindy-sherman-catalogueI suggest the catalogue works visually for anyone who had visited the exhibition. As for anyone who did not, I suggest it would be useful but in no way could it replace visiting the exhibition.

The majority of the essays were of interest but did not really add much to what has been readily available elsewhere.

The exception was the one by Betsy Berne who knows Cindy and was able to write about the person and the way she lives and works. This was of interest but did not add (or subtract) from the experience of seeing the works – in the catalogue or in the Brisbane exhibition.

My hesitation before getting along to the exhibition were that I had not always enjoyed every series of Cindy Sherman’s work – having seen quite a lot of her works in a number of exhibitions and collections. I remember seeing one of her murals that was curiously hung along a long wall in a cafe of an art museum. I was not sure whether it was the work itself, the location or both, but I did not enjoy it as much as so much of her other works.

sherman4I saw the same work in Brisbane and again, it was not a work I would return to see.

As a final statement on the exhibition, good catalogue with good image production – and the exhibition was one that I am very glad that I had the opportunity to see.

Again – those later works are great.

Here’s an article about Cindy Sherman and the subject of her latest photographs- aging.

Click here.


Paul Costigan



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