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"Cindy Sherman: The Early Works 1975-1977" opens at Centre de la photographie Genève
Cindy Sherman’'s complex early work, which she made while in Buffalo, is characterized by a conceptual and performative creative process.© Christian Redtenbacher / Verbund.
GENEVA.- Cindy Sherman began studying painting in 1972, at the age of eighteen, at the State University of New York, Buffalo. In 1975, she changed her major from painting to photography. She graduated in 1976 and left Buffalo the following year to move to New York City. Contrary to previous assumption, the famous Untitled Film Stills (1977-1980) were not Sherman’s first works. In fact, during the time from 1975 to 1977 in Buffalo, she produced an extensive body of early work that would become the foundation for her future oeuvre.

Sherman developed her understanding of the contemporary art movements of the era at Hallwalls, an exhibition center run by the artists themselves, which was founded in November 1974 by Sherman’s then boyfriend Robert Longo and Charles Clough. Through the busy visiting artist program at Hallwalls, she got to know Vito Acconci, Bruce Nauman, and Chris Burden. However, for Sherman, several women artists were, in her words, “role models,”— including Lynda Benglis, Hannah Wilke, Adrian Piper, Eleanor Antin, and Suzy Lake—because these artists brought their own female bodies into art. Sherman’s early work was crucially inflected by artistic forms emerging in the late 1960s and early 1970s, such as film, video, photography, installation, performance, Conceptual Art, and Body Art.

Cindy Sherman’s early work can be divided into three phases. First of all, Sherman began with the portrait. Through the differentiated application of makeup and the use of range of facial expressions, in 1975 several groups of portraits were produced that show her face in transformation. In illustrating the development from a girl into a young woman, the series thematizes the process of adolescence. After the portraits came Sherman’s second phase, in which she utilized her whole body and involved it in the play of transformation through facial expressions, gestures, poses, costuming, wigs, and makeup. She photographed herself in various poses, roles, and identities, and cut the figures out of the photo paper. Through this process, the film Doll Clothes (1975) and the cutout works Fairies, Mini, The Mask and The Giant (all 1976) were made. In the third phase of her early work, Sherman allowed the various figures to interact, as in the cutout series A Play of Selves, Bus Riders and Murder Mystery (all 1976).

A Play of Selves, with 244 figures and 72 scenes in four acts and a finale, shows an intricately staged theater play. With different characters (such as Madness, Desire, Vanity, Agony, the Broken Woman, and the Ideal Lover), Sherman illustrates a woman’s emotional world in its multiplicity and ambivalence. In the series Murder Mystery, with approximately 211 cutouts and 80 scenes, she constructs a crime drama whose outcome remains uncertain. She casts herself in various roles, including the Jealous Husband, the Butler, the Mother, and the Detective. Both series have a complex structure and follow an elaborate storyboard. In accordance with each scene, the individual figures are composed in various size relationships. Sherman conceived the number of scenes to suit the particular spatial situation, glued them directly to the wall at eye-level, and thus created an installation that encompassed the whole space.

Cindy Sherman’'s complex early work, which she made while in Buffalo, is characterized by a conceptual and performative creative process. Many of the cutouts, such as the Bus Riders, have been lost because of the ephemeral mode of presentation. In the years in Buffalo, Sherman first developed the play of transformation into the concept for her artwork, and produced numerous photographs which have been unknown to the public until today, and which incorporate a strikingly large number of elements from theater and film. For more than 35 years, Cindy Sherman has visualized a multitude of roles and female identities.

In her early years as an artist, Sherman visibly used herself as a starting point for her works. Often, she began a series with a photograph she called That’s me. Through this work, we are able to gain an immediate impression of Sherman as a person, whereas in her main body of work, beginning with the Untitled Film Stills from New York, the artist does not allow this effect as much anymore, or not at all.

Gabriele Schor spent three years in close collaboration with the artist, researching the conceptual and performative beginnings of Cindy Sherman’s oeuvre for SAMMLUNG VERBUND, and now has edited the catalogue raisonné of her early works, which was published in January 2012 by Hatje Cantz Verlag in German and English editions.

The accompanying exhibition That’s me – That’s not me: Early Works by Cindy Sherman at Centre de la photographie Genève shows approximately 50 of the artist’s works..

Cindy Sherman
Cindy Sherman is among the most important contemporary women artists. She was born on January 19, 1954 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. In 1972 she enrolled at the State University College Buffalo (SUCB), and in 1976 earned her Bachelor of Arts. Since the summer of 1977, she has lived and worked as an artist in New York.

In 1982, she took part in documenta 7, and as early as 1987, she had her first retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. She has had numerous exhibitions, including at the Jeu de Paume, Paris, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Louisiana Museum for Modern Art, and Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin. She has been awarded numerous prizes and honors and her works are included in the most important art collections, such as the Tate Gallery, London, the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D. C., the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum, New York.

Cindy Sherman | Centre de la photographie Genève | Gabriele Schor |


Last Week News

December 10, 2012

Constable, Gainsborough, Turner and the Making of Landscape at the Royal Academy of Arts

Arte Primitivo announces auction of Tribal and pre-Columbian, Classical, Egyptian and Asian antiquities

National Endowment for the Humanities awards grant to Teenie Harris Archive at Carnegie Museum

Cleveland Museum of Natural History announces capital campaign, leadership team

Austrian artist Yadegar Asisi presents 360 degree panorama of baroque Dresden

Christie's sale of masterpieces formerly in the Collection of Monsieur and Madame Riahi realises $31.9 M

Indianapolis Museum of Art premieres first major exhibition focusing on the use of graphite

Christie's presents a week-long series of auctions devoted to magnificent jewels, watches, wine and design

Phillips de Pury & Co. announces highlights from its New York December Design Auctions

Japanese art exhibitions during New York's Asia Week celebrations announced

Simon Lee Gallery presents an exhibition of new work by the American artist Sherrie Levine

What is Grey Exactly? The (non-)colour grey in Swiss art from the 1960s to the present

Fiona Rukschcio retapes Yoko Ono's film "Rape" for new exhibition at the Secession

Exhibition at MICA and University of the Arts honors legendary fiber artist Lenore Tawney

Amicable settlement between auction house Lempertz and buyer of false Heinrich Campendonk painting

First institutional exhibition of works by artist Cheyney Thompson opens at Kunstverein Braunschweig

Patek Philippe dome clock by graffiti artist John "CRASH" Matos offered in Antiquorum's December auction

Seventh Asia Pacific Triennial opens in Queensland

Nightfall: New tendencies in figurative painting at MODEM Centre for Modern and Contemporary Arts

End may be sight for FBI's unloved Hoover building

December 9, 2012

Park Avenue Armory presents Ann Hamilton's first installation in New York in over a decade

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art celebrates 15 years of the Logan Collection

Industrial history brings new life to Parisian suburb just a 20-minute metro ride from the city centre

The Heckscher Museum of Art presents "Modernizing America: Artists of the Armory Show"

Tortoiseshell craftsmen adapt to new century turning out only 100 pairs of hand made glasses per year

Head of the Institute of Archeology of Belize sues over Indiana Jones crystal skull

Six and seven figure sales dominate the first three days of contemporary and modern art fair Art Miami

Georgia Museum of Art exhibits works by American painter and printmaker Minna Citron

Air de Paris exhibits works by Adriana Lara, Guy de Cointet, Trisha Donnelly and Allen Ruppersberg

Franklin Bowles Gallery in New York opens exhibition by the Spanish artist Miquel Gelabert

First major UK solo exhibition by Libyan Italian artist Adelita Husni-Bey opens at Gasworks

Recent acquisitions and a new exhibition announced at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Liz Deschenes’s photographic works on view in new exhibition at Vienna's Secession

Galerie Michel Rein in Paris opens exhibition by Christian Hidaka

Discovery in New England brings to light an obscure California-made motorcycle once thought 'extinct'

Grosvenor Gallery presents works by one of the greatest masters of postwar Greek art

One-time refugee from punk and sometime band member Ted Riederer exhibits at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery

Great Dam of China opens the floodgates for artist Donald Wyland

New Museum announces limited-edition wearable MP3 player featuring fifteen live performances

Michaan's Tiffany Auction produces multimillion dollar sale

December 8, 2012

Archaeologists find Maya ceramics and mural paintings in three underwater caves in Mexico

Fortuny and Wagner:Wagnerism in the visual arts in Italy opens at Palazzo Fortuny in Venice

Discovered: French and Italian archaeologists find the lost port of ancient Rome

Ringling organizes America's first comprehensive Veronese exhibition in two decades

New role for Curator Scott Rothkopf at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York

Rio bids final farewell to star architect Niemeyer with national tribute worthy of a head of state

Flowers Gallery presents a selection of photographs from Edmund Clark's Guantanamo: If The Light Goes Out

Exhibition of recent works by Giovanni Anselmo, Jannis Kounellis, Giuseppe Penone and Emilio Prini at Sprovieri

Peabody Essex Museum appoints Austen Barron Bailly as its first Curator of American Art

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush to lead Philadelphia's National Constitution Center

Dazzling prices in £6m Bonhams Fine Jewellery Sale with over £1m for Van Cleef & Arpels brooch

If you will it, it is not a dream: Yael Bartana opens solo exhibition at Vienna's Secession

Portland Museum of Art breaks records for the month of November with Winslow Homer exhibition

Alaska reclaims missing moon rocks since 1973

Aargauer Kunsthaus opens survey of current art practices in the Canton of Aargau

Shortlist of The Art India Breakthrough Artist Award at the Skoda Prize announced

Pérez Art Museum Miami capital campaign receives $5 million contribution

Winchester rifle belonging to "Doc" Carver, partner of Buffalo Bill, to be sold at auction

Navajo child's blanket leads Bonhams $1.28 million Native American Art Sale in San Francisco

December 7, 2012

11th annual Art Basel Miami Beach features 257 leading international galleries

Cavemen better at drawing animal movement: study by open access journal PLoS ONE

Restoration of Jacopo da Pontormo altarpiece reveals unrecorded drawing clearly visible at the top

Berlin marks 100 years since Nefertiti find with major exhibition 'In The Light of Amarna'

Italian police recover 2,000-year-old Egyptian sphinx stolen from Etruscan necropolis of Montem Rossulum

Painting attributed to El Greco smashes pre-sale estimate at Bonhams Old Masters Sale

After a 4.8 million dollar makeover, London's Charles Dickens Museum reopens

1933 King Kong three sheet brings $388,375 to set house record at Heritage Auctions

Glassblowing comes to the iPhone: VMFA and The Martin Agency launch app inspired by Dale Chihuly's artwork

Swiss contemporary art generates enthusiasm among collectors at Sotheby's

The New Art Dealers Alliance returns to Miami Beach for the 10th edition of NADA Miami Beach

Bernar Venet invited by Bugatti to create a work of art on view at the Rubell Family Collection

Aqua's 8th installment packs another powerful punch during Art Basel Miami week

Sweden's Nationalmuseum announces acquisition of photographic portraits by Hans Gedda

RISD Museum bids farewell and warm wishes to Curator Judith Tannenbaum

The Helmut Newton Foundation opens exhibition of works by François-Marie Banier and Helmut Newton

Tamara Beckwith, co-owner of the Little Black Gallery, joins Channel 4's Four Rooms

World's most important porcelain tea service sells at Bonhams for £541,250

Just discovered Scharl Portrait of Einstein up for sale for first time

December 6, 2012

Raphael's Head of a Young Apostle achieves second-highest price for any Old Master work

Architect Oscar Niemeyer, who recreated Brazil's sensuous curves in reinforced concrete, dead at 104

The J. Paul Getty Museum announces acquisition of Northern Renaissance masterpiece

Norton Simon Museum presents an installation of Vincent van Gogh's "Self-Portrait," 1889

Exciting new finds highlight the ongoing success of the Treasure Act and Portable Antiquities Scheme

Tate Modern's Turbine Hall to present electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk The Catalogue 12345678 live

Cleveland Museum of Art announces several recent acquisitions across all departments

Art Miami LLC to acquire vibrant Aqua Art Miami Fair in Miami Beach, now in its 8th year

"Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Prints and Objects" on view at the University of Miami Lowe Art Museum

Exhibition of Jonas Mekas' film, video and photographic works opens at the Serpentine Gallery

240 works by Honoré Daumier being shown to the public for the first time

'Peanuts' creator Charles Schulz' love letters going to auction at Sotheby's in New York

Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History to unveil largest aquamarine gem

Beatles trove offered in Heritage December event to celebrate 50 years of 'Beatlemania'

"A Universal Archive: William Kentridge as Printmaker" opens at The Bluecoat in Liverpool

Record set at Kaminski Auctions for pair of rare English glass decanters

Julian Lennon launches photo exhibit in Miami

American paintings, scarce contemporary works bring high prices at Swann Galleries' auction

Analia Saban wins Norton Museum of Art's inaugural Rudin Prize

Evolve the Gallery loans Ali: The Greatest Collection to Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville

December 5, 2012

Louvre opens $196 million branch in an abandoned coal mining town in northern France

Rijksmuseum Schiphol celebrates ten-year anniversary with an exhibition of paintings

Bellwether year for interest in Islamic art increases demand for antique Oriental carpets

New York's Museum of Modern Art to display video games starting in March 2013

Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami is only U.S. venue for major Bill Viola exhibition

PULSE Miami 2012 art fair hosts eighty-six national and international galleries

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum names Greg Harris as President and CEO

Exceptional musical clock owned by Egypt's lavish monarch, King Farouk, leads Bonhams Fine Clocks Sale

Billboards in Times Square spread Yoko Ono's message of peace throughout the holiday season

Leading artists open exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts celebrating history of Fourth plinth

Solo exhibition of works by American painter Martin Mull opens at Ben Brown Fine Arts

Design Miami celebrates its eight edition with thirty-five participating galleries

A dozen church painters from European countries seek to revamp ancient practice

Myanmar graffiti artists unhappy with new ban

Moscow Museum of Modern Art opens Aidan Salakhova's largest-ever exhibition

Bonhams Entertainment Sale to include memorabilia from acclaimed science fiction film and television series

Gallery ups prize money for BP Portrait Award 2013 as call for entries is announced

Absolut Art Bureau at Art Basel Miami Beach-Güiro: An art bar installation by Los Carpinteros

Dinosaur skull seized from Wyoming home

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Newly discovered Imperial Fabergé Easter egg: A critical note from a Fabergé collector

2.- Tate opens most comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to Matisse's paper cut-outs

3.- First North American survey of the work of Ai Weiwei opens at Brooklyn Museum

4.- The importance of sky studies in landscape art is the subject of the first exhibition in a new Morgan series

5.- Beautiful Bentleys and a 'Rambo Lambo' amongst highlights for sale at Bonhams

6.- Retrospective is the first to encompass Sigmar Polke's works across all mediums

7.- Exhibition presents 100 top-class masterpieces from the collection of the Albertina

8.- Lost treasure found after almost 100 years: Wartski exhibits missing Fabergé egg

9.- Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles acquires a rare 16th century "Book of Friends"

10.- Exhibition of masterpieces from the Austrian Habsburg dynasty brings imperial splendor to the U.S.



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