Carte Blanche: Cindy Sherman

by Daniel Haim

In conjunction with MoMA’s Cindy Sherman retrospective, the artist has selected films that have informed her artistic practice. Film has had a profound influence on Sherman, and is an inspiration for much of her work. Part of the first generation of Americans raised on television, she was fully steeped in mass-media culture from a young age, and she recalls watching films such as Rear Window and La Jetée as formative experiences. In college in the 1970s, she immersed herself in film, studying under the avant-garde filmmaker Paul Sharits and experimenting with the medium of film alongside photography.

For this Carte Blanche exhibition, Sherman selected films across a wide range of eras and genres—from camp (John Waters’s Desperate Living, 1977) to horror (Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, 1974) to classic art films (Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon, 1943)— reflecting her diverse interests and influences. Drawn largely from MoMA’s collection—including films that were acquired specifically for this presentation—the series also includes additional films on loan to the Museum.

The exhibition also includes a Curator’s Choice program, comprising Sherman’s 1975 short film Doll Clothes, followed by her horror-inflected feature film Office Killer (1997). The exhibition is organized by Eva Respini, Associate Curator, with Lucy Gallun, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Photography, in collaboration with the Department of Film.