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Untitled #223
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ebrowne's picture

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Cindy Sherman is like a chameleon except she creates her own surroundings and instead of defending herself with disguise she obliterates the patriarchy with it.

This portrait, one in the series of “History Portraits,” is no different. What’s portrayed here is just your average Madonna and Child and if you don’t look closely that’s all you would see. But those of you with a sharper eye will see that the boob is not in fact the boob of the artist. It’s a plastic one, like the one that men wear to frat parties thinking there is nothing funnier than being a woman. Ironically, this is exactly the opposite of what the point of Sherman’s work is but I digress. The baby isn’t actually a baby either. It’s plastic making that whole tender, breast-feeding moment kinda fake and creepy. 

These portraits were inspired by Sherman’s time in Rome. You would assume that she spent hours in museums like the Borghese Gallery or the National Museum to get ideas but she actually was partial to seeing them in books in order to remain “a consumer of print culture.” She wanted to emphasize that art history was just another influence on her like TV, movies, or magazines rather than a glorified artistic divine inspiration. She even mildly mocks the great Renaissance and Baroque works by dramatizing her make-up, and looking lovingly at a fake Jesus. If that doesn’t make you giggle than I don’t know what can, which by the way is one of the perks of Cindy Sherman’s work – the fact that you’re allowed to laugh. If you laugh in the Borghese then I’m pretty sure they’ll think you’re insane (or just rude) but like if you’re American they’ll think that anyway so no worries.