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Under the Gaze: The Art of Cindy Sherman

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Critic and art historian Hal Foster looks back to 1970s New York, where he first encountered a generation of young artists engaging seriously with the images and effects of mass consumer culture. Amongst them, Cindy Sherman, whose iconographic self-portraits would come to reflect a fascination with how women are depicted in the visual language of film and advertising.

Sherman's art, influenced by feminism, explores what it means to be under the -- sometimes dangerous -- gaze of others, but also of oneself. For Sherman, identity is a construction and a performance. Foster argues that in creating these multiple identities in her pictures, Sherman reveals the eternal human impulse to transform the actual body into the desired image. In doing so, she presaged the selfie culture of our times.

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Hal Foster is Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University, where he teaches and publishes in the areas of modernist and contemporary art, architecture, and theory. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Foster was a founding editor of Zone Magazine and Books, and he writes regularly for October (which he coedits), Artforum, and The London Review of Books. He is the recipient of the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Art Criticism in College Art Association (2012) and the Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing (2010), and he has been the Siemens Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin and the Paul Mellon Senior Fellow at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. In 1998 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. His publications include, The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture (*1983), *Recodings (1985), The Return of the Real (1996), The Art-Architecture Complex (2011), Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency (2015).

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