Cindy Sherman’s Worst Role Ever?

Visual Arts Features
Cindy Sherman’s Worst Role Ever?

Of all the roles Cindy Sherman has ever played, a quitter isn’t one of them. Until now.

Andrew R. Chow of The New York Times reports:

Cindy Sherman, Richard Serra, Louise Lawler, Joan Jonas and Julie Mehretu were among the art stars signing the invitation for a J20 Art Strike, which urges museums, galleries, concert halls, art schools and nonprofit institutions to close to protest “the normalization of Trumpism.”

Over 130 artists and critics have signed the petition calling for cultural institutions to close on Friday, January 20th. Cindy Sherman is still so relevant that Paste named her one of the Best Visual Artists of 2016. But in this case we think she’s totally lost the plot.

And we’re in pretty good company. MoMA and The Whitney Museum (offering pay-what-you-can admission) have pledged to stay open this Friday, championing the expression and exchange of ideas that happens at museums. I guess it’s safe to say the next Meet Cindy Sherman! soirée held for art-collecting global elites is going to be a bit awkward. Or maybe it’s all just a publicity stunt. What isn’t these days?


(Don’t recognize the gentleman callers? Why that’s Mayor Billionaire Bloomberg on the left, and Gerry Speyer on the right. Never heard of him? He owns the Chrysler Building and Rockerfeller Center. As you do.)

Ms. Sherman, you are an artist of distinction because you have so carefully documented the heart and heartache of women across the spectrum, across the ages, across the universe. The man who will be inaugurated on Friday has threatened to strip us of our citizenship if we protest, to strip our bodies of access to self-determined healthcare, to rob our country of its dignity and its people of their unyielding, unalienable rights. This week is a time for us to flood not only the streets but the classrooms, the concert halls, the column inches and the creative spaces many have fought so hard to build and defend.

We raise our voices against a common threat. But please understand that museums, music venues, schools, artists and nonprofit organizations are not the enemy. What a tragedy it is for you to tell these institutions of enlightenment to go dark, to tell the singers not to sing, the students not to study, the creatives not to create, and the givers not to give.

“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

About the main photo: Visitors sit beneath ‘Occupy Chairs’ by Sebastian Errazuriz at The Armory Show, New York’s annual international art fair, at Piers 92 and 94 in New York City. The show featured paintings, photographs, sculpture and other works of art by artists including Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman and Pablo Picasso. (Mario Tana / Getty)

Emily Ray is Paste’s Visual Arts Editor. #FILA

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