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Feminist Artist Cindy Sherman Will Debut Europe’s Largest Retrospective of Her Work in Paris

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Untitled #582, 2016

Courtesy of Artist and Metro Pictures

Untitled #582, 2016

On view at the Fondation Louis Vuitton starting April 2, the Paris exhibition will feature 300 works by American artist Cindy Sherman—including several that have never been seen before.

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A retrospective of American artist Cindy Sherman, who is widely regarded as one of the most influential voices in contemporary art, will be on display at the Fondation Louis Vuitton from April 2 through August 21, 2020. The exhibit will feature more than 300 images from Sherman’s body of work spanning her nearly 50-year career as a photographer and filmmaker—including pieces from her most recent projects that haven’t yet been shown publicly.

Sherman, who is based in New York City, studied art at Buffalo State College in the 1970s, focusing first on painting. She became famous in the early ’80s after she began concentrating on photographic self-portraiture, which challenged society’s social and sexual stereotypes about women. Often acting as her own model, wardrobe designer, and makeup artist, the New Jersey native creates evocative new worlds in front of the camera, usually drawing from pop culture and art history references. Her portraits intend to evoke a gamut of emotions among viewers, from amusing and surprising to dark and disturbing. 

Untitled #414, 2013

Cindy Sherman: A Retrospective at the Fondation Louis Vuitton is Europe’s largest show of Sherman’s work, and it will include her iconic Untitled Film Stills (1977–1980), a collection of 70 photographs that use the framework of film stills to comment on the feminine role models she observed in her youth. Such examples include generic film noir characters in urban settings and lonely housewives posing dramatically at the sink.

Her series titled Society Portraits (2008), also on display at the Fondation, portrays a collection of images where Sherman poses as various Manhattan socialites bedecked in heavy makeup and extravagant clothes and jewelry. Her backdrops: actual locations where such socialites could be found in New York City, including the Upper East Side and Gramercy Park.  

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In conjunction with Sherman’s retrospective, a parallel exhibition titled Crossing Views will also open at the Frank Gehry–designed building in Paris’s 16th arrondissement. Created in collaboration with the American artist, the multimedia exhibit will feature a selection of 60 works by 20 international artists from the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s contemporary art collection. With the intention of playing off Sherman’s approach to portraiture, Crossing Views will also focus on portraits made in various media ranging from sculpture to video, and artists include Louise Bourgeois, Damien Hirst, and Zanele Muholi.

At a time when the world is reexamining social and sexual roles of women in society, Sherman’s decades-long body of work is more relevant than ever—and a worthy addition to the itinerary of Paris-bound art lovers this year.

Cindy Sherman: A Retrospective runs from April 2 through August 21, 2020, at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. Timed-entry tickets cost $16 for adults. They’re available at the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s website.

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