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

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"Madame de Pompadour (nee Poisson)" Soup Tureen and Platter (1990) "Cindy Sherman (b. 1954) - Madame de Pompadour (nee Poisson)" Soup Tureen and Platter (1990) Glazed porcelain with decals and hand-painted decoration. Saint Louis Art Museum, The Marjorie Wyman Endowment Fund

A commission for a series of functional porcelain tableware from the New York art publisher Artes Magnus was the impetus for Cindy Sherman's Soup Tureen and Platter and an inspiration for her series of History Portraits. Though reluctant to act as art historian for her own work, Sherman has described the origin of her History Portraits and her relationship to historical precedents in a couple of interviews. Typically making photographs of herself, Sherman is more inclined to play the parts of both artist and model.

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