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Sherman on how she views historical artwork

I'm illiterate in the historical, classic knowledge of photography, the stuff teachers attempted to bore into my head, which I resisted. The way I've always tried to cull information from older art and put it into my work is that I view it all anonymously, on a visceral level. Lately I've been looking at a lot of images from Surrealism and Dada, but I never remember which ones are the Man Rays, say, because I'm just looking for what interests me.1

1 Michael Kimmelman, "At the Met With: Cindy Sherman; Portraitist in the Halls of Her Artistic Ancestors," The New York Times (19 May 1995): B16.

Sherman in response to the question "What is the relationship between all those shes and yourself?"

I've never thought of any of this work as some long expos about self-portraiture. I really think of them all as different people—each one is a different character. Even though I can remember back to the day when I was shooting…it still seems like somebody else. That's really what I'm looking for, that's what [is] in my mind when choosing an image. What makes it successful is when I suddenly don't sense anything about myself in that image.1

1 David Brittain, "True Confessions: Cindy Sherman Interviewed," Creative Camera (February-March 1991): 37.

Sherman on how paintings differ from photographs

The nice thing about seeing paintings in the museum that I never appreciate is looking at them up close. You know, it's a totally different experience from seeing them in catalogues.1

1 Phoebe Hoban, "Cindy Sherman: Moving Pictures," New York Magazine (6 April 1996): 178.

Sherman on combining different kinds of artifice

Dressing up and painting and photography jelled for me when the makeup became paint and my face became the canvas.1

1 Michael Kimmelman, "At the Met With: Cindy Sherman; Portraitist in the Halls of Her Artistic Ancestors," The New York Times (19 May 1995): B16.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled (#195) Cindy Sherman, Untitled (#198) Cindy Sherman, Untitled (#197) Cindy Sherman, Untitled (#222) Cindy Sherman, Untitled (#205) Cindy Sherman, Untitled (#220) Cindy Sherman, Untitled (#228) Cindy Sherman, Untitled (#224) Cindy Sherman, Untitled (#213) Cindy Sherman Cindy Sherman, Untitled (#195), Arno and Danner Schefler Cindy Sherman, Untitled (#197), Collection of Helen Kornblum Cindy Sherman, Untitled (#198), Courtesy of artist and Metro Pictures Cindy Sherman, Untitled (#205), The Carol and Arthur Goldberg Collection Cindy Sherman, Untitled (#213), Courtesy of artist and Metro Pictures Cindy Sherman, Untitled (#220), Michael and Jeanne Klein Cindy Sherman, Untitled (#222), Michael and Jeanne Klein Cindy Sherman, Untitled (#224), Mr. and Mrs. Charles Diker Cindy Sherman, Untitled (#228), The Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica

Cindy Sherman appears in all of these photographs. Some of these compositions reference specific paintings or artists; others are mainly inventions that merge aspects of "masterpieces" from different places and times. In either case, the way the works are made links them not so much to the history of painting as to photographic reproductions of paintings: Sherman depicts realities that are already artifices. As she has noted, "the makeup became paint and my face became the canvas."1 By presenting painting-like images via the medium of photography, these works point to differences in how painting and photography are regarded. Modifications to reality that might seem natural in the former are obviously created by artificial means (specifically make-up and prosthetics) in the latter.

1 Michael Kimmelman, "At the Met With: Cindy Sherman; Portraitist in the Halls of Her Artistic Ancestors," The New York Times (19 May 1995): B16.

Sherman on the origin of the History Portraits (1995)

When I was doing those history pictures I was living in Rome but never went to the churches and museums there. I worked out of books, with reproductions. It's an aspect of photography I appreciate conceptually: the idea that images can be reproduced and seen anytime, anywhere, by anyone.1

1 Phoebe Hoban, "Cindy Sherman: Moving Pictures," New York Magazine (6 April 1996): 178.