Art21 Extended Play

Cindy Sherman | Mannequins & Masks

Surveying some of the props she’s used over the years, including masks and mannequin parts, artist Cindy Sherman demonstrates how she uses stand-ins to gauge the focus and composition of her images.

In self-reflexive photographs and films, Cindy Sherman invents myriad guises, metamorphosing from Hollywood starlet to clown to society matron. Often with the simplest of means—a camera, a wig, makeup, an outfit—Sherman fashions ambiguous but memorable characters that suggest complex lives lived out of frame. Sherman’s investigations have a compelling relationship to public images, from kitsch (film stills and centerfolds) to art history (Old Masters and Surrealism) to green-screen technology and the latest advances in digital photography.

Cindy Sherman is featured in the Season 5 (2009) episode Transformation of the Art:21—Art in the Twenty-First Century television series on PBS.

VIDEO | Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Joel Shapiro. Sound: Roger Phenix. Editor: Lizzie Donahue & Paulo Padilha. Artwork Courtesy: Cindy Sherman.


  1. Pingback: Halvard Halvorsen’s tumblelog » Cindy Sherman | Mannequins & Masks | Art21 Blog

  2. Some of those mannequin heads are a little creepy! She seems very reflective and like someone who cares a lot about her work!

  3. Thats some creapy stuff to have about your house, you wouldn’t want to watch a scary movie then walk into that room :o/

  4. There’s something about Mannequins & Masks that is both visually appealing and utterly frightening in the same breath. Still, each to their own art as they say!

  5. This will really creep me out if I see those heads glaring at night. But that is such an amazing talent she got there. How her imagination works out. It’s like an art turned out from those bunch of pieces on that studio. I want to be imaginative as well but lesser on the creepy side. 🙂

  6. Contemporary art can be or not to accepted. It’s a small world of the artist, who trying to convey the essence of thought. Thrills can be, as you see, to get even when viewing artwork.

  7. That is a true art form. I’ve been a stained glass artist for years now and I know the work that goes into these things with the attention to detail must be exhaustive.

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