Debuting to coincide with Cindy Sherman's retrospective at Fondation Louis Vuitton, a new photographic series from the iconic Pictures Generation artist is now on view at Metro Pictures. This body of work marks a notable turn in the tenor of Sherman's meticulously orchestrated disguises—her earliest of which famously capture female-oriented tropes in mass media, particularly film. Since 1980, Sherman has frequently interrogated various dimensions of masculinity; she has also probed archetypes not typically construed in gendered terms, such as clowns and fantastical entities.
Doned in mostly brand-name menswear, these characters—all fully camera-aware, posing alone or as a couple—materializes over images captured on the artist's travels—incarnations of human identities that, on first glance, read as gendered. Closely examined, however, each individual manifests traits that are rife with contradictions, negating any definitive allegiance to one gender or the other. Sherman's personas are inscrutable through the lens of a male-female binary. Still, one cannot help but mentally register these portraits as containing an array of women and men. Perhaps it's meant to be felt and not determined. Not to overshadow the characters themselves, the iconic artist digitally placed these personas in backgrounds collected from images taken during her travels abroad.
Cindy Sherman, Untitled #602, 2019. Dye sublimation print, 76 1/4 x 87 1/2 inches. Courtesy of Metro Pictures, New York.