Extra Credit- Thoughts on Cindy Sherman

Throughout the coarse of the semester, Cindy Sherman and her artworks have come up in conversation numerous numerous times between both this class and my ARTS 1020 class.  I must say I personally have become familiar with her as a contemporary artist.  She has become the inspiration for many other contemporary artists today in the concept of photographing the self in many different personalities, cultural backgrounds, and lifestyles.  Even race and gender did not hold this woman back in her efforts to try on the characteristics of people around her, throughout the world, and in history.  

In her works she takes on identity with a fun sort of twist.  She doesn’t necessarily dress up in character of different aspects of her own identity; rather she dresses up as all different identities as if they were her own.  For all the viewer knows, they could very well be hers.  Many people today act differently in front of different groups of people, friends, and family; we all do it, it is in our human nature to bring out characteristics around different individuals while keeping ones hidden that may not be liked by that individual in particular.  Considering this, Cindy portrays many different people in one of their most prominent identities.  By taking on these roles, it seems as if they belong to her and become apart of her.  Everyone has the option to be who they want to be, and in Cindy Sherman’s works of art, it’s as if she is exploring her options.  It makes me wonder what her true identity really is.  I find it incredible that she can dress up as so many different people and make her role in each of the photographs seem completely believable.

Being from Jersey, I just had to post the above image.  I feel that this image resembles the horrible stereotype of the “Jersey Shore” that has come to fall over all of my state and the people in it.  “The Jersey Shore” show that so many people watch today, either because they like it or just want to make fun of it, portrays that “Gym, Tan, Laundry” lifestyle of people.  People have come to stereotype the personalities of these Jersey natives all together.  Cindy Sherman does a great job at taking on not only the appearance, but the attitude of such a person.  The direction of her eyes going up towards the right hand corner remind me of someone rolling their eyes as to say “I’m better then you/ I am all that and a bag of chips” which many feel those who live in New Jersey have come to believe about themselves.  The tan lines and the orange color of her skin pertaining to the typical fake n’ bake over excessive tanning, the long hair via extensions, as well as the low cut, tight fitted clothing are also main components of New Jersey women and teenage girls according to the retarded show.  Regardless if this is how I define the meaning of this photograph and the character in it, many people can relate, whether by means of living in New Jersey, living elsewhere and having thoughts about the state, or even personally knowing someone with those characteristics in a whole different context such as California.

In this extra credit post, I wanted to applaud Cindy Shermon in her artwork, in the way she transforms herself so well, experiencing the viewpoints of those who she is acting as, adding a twist of humor, and most of all allowing her viewers to think about their lives and how the context of their surroundings affects who they are as a person inside and out.

OH! and I also wanted to inform all of you who believe in this typical stereotype of New Jersey that it is actually not like that! k thanks.

2 Responses

  1. I like how you referenced your hometown in this, I don’t even think she looks like a real person in that photo but actually a clown. Even people on jersey shore aren’t that scary!

    • HAHA This is true she is a scary looking creature in this image. I in a way, do think those characters are clowns.. but not clowns who started as people, but rather naturally born clowns who are trying to make themselves look like people. They just happen to go too far. Maybe that was a little mean… I don’t know if I want to take it back though. They changed the whole image of Jersey in a negative way. I can’t even tell people where I’m from without them automatically saying “ooooohhh JERSEYY SHOREEE!!” Its really annoying. So in that Cindy Sherman captures them completely :).

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