Cindy Sherman (American, born 1954)
Chromogenic print; 23 5/16 x 48 1/4 in. (59.2 x 122.5 cm)
Purchase, Samuel J. Wagstaff Jr. Bequest, 1995 (1995.16)
© Cindy Sherman
In 1981, Sherman created a series of images showing herself squeezed into the horizontal, double-page format of the magazine spread. In each picture, the viewer loomed over the subject whose dramatically spot-lit poseswaiting for the phone to ring, crouching in terror, or staring catatonically into spaceoften implied an air of vulnerability, trauma, and even violence. By encouraging her audience to participate by proxy in the predatory "male gaze" reminiscent of Cinemascope B-movies and pornographic magazines, Sherman courted controversy; some critics felt that the works did not sufficiently stand apart from the objectification that they described so powerfully, and the magazine that commissioned the works ultimately rejected them for publication.