Ancestor, 1985

Cindy Sherman’s photographs—in which she casts herself in roles ranging from movie star to witch, Italian gentleman to aristocratic matron—exploit their medium’s potential for transformation. In so doing, these images sidestep the genre of self-portraiture by revealing little about the artist. Instead, they point to the commercially produced and widely circulating images that pervade our […]

Untitled #2, 1985

In the early 1980s, Robert Mapplethorpe created a striking series of photographs of Black men presented nude or in states of undress, their poses often recalling those of classical sculpture. As these images made their way into public view—via the 1982 book Black Males, a 1986 exhibition of the same name, and the 1988 publication […]