particular artist including three things that typify and define said artist. The author is then asked to compare and contrast the artist to several other artists in the same or very similar genre. Finally, the author of this response is asked whether the current reputation of the profiled artist will grow or fall over time and how this will compare to the other aforementioned artists that are compared within this report. This report will focus on the conceptual modern artwork of Cindy Sherman as well as her counterparts in the field.
Three Dimensions of Cindy Sherman
There are certainly more than three, but the author of this paper has no problem identifying three concepts or words that typify and define what Cindy Sherman's art and pictures are all about. The first word that can be used is evocative. While it is the aim of all art, on some level or another, to evoke some sort of emotional or other response, Cindy Sherman makes evocation of emotion or other reaction an art form. Much of her art is rather erotic and poignant in nature, to the extent that some view it as lewd and/or pornographic.
However, to dismiss the treatises of Cindy Sherman on the grounds that they are indecent would be foolish and specious. Ms. Sherman is certainly trying to evoke a response but it is not the one that more simplistic viewers of art may thing. While she has not publicly acknowledged this to any firm extent, it is clear that Ms. Sherman is trying to make political and/or ideological statements with her pictures.
This leads to the second word that defines Ms. Sherman's work, that being that her art is very hard-hitting and fairly easy to interpret. For example, much of Ms. Sherman's work clearly centers on women and she often used herself as a model for her work. Her message was self-evident even given the fact that much of work is intentionally untitled in nature. Rather than using the title of the work to guide the thought patterns of the viewer, Ms. Sherman lets the art do all talking and it often does so in a very blunt and unflinching manner. The work of Ms. Sherman is very visceral and often does not rely on any modicum of subtlety.
The last word that would describe her work, at least of what will be mentioned in this response, is multi-dimensional. Just looking at her picture still art, Ms. Sherman is rather varied in the forms and feeling of her photos including the use of live subjects (often herself) as well as mannequin and doll parts. Photographs can be single images or a collage of some sort. Even further, the art can be black and white or in partial to full color. Sometimes the art is very edgy and sexual and other times there is a bit more nuance, but usually not too much.
In short, the work of Ms. Sherman is meant to make a statement, is meant to get your attention and will generally not leave a Cindy Sherman gallery with a neutral opinion. Whether the viewpoint is positive or not or whether it is insightful or entirely too narrow, some sort of response tends to be visceral and very poignant in nature.
There are other artists out there that are in the same general prism of art as Ms. Sherman. Examples include Barbara Kruger, Richard Prince and Robert Longo. Kruger, like Ms. Sherman, is a conceptual artist that relies heavily on black and white photographs overlaid with message and red bordering and blocks. She has operated at much the same time as Ms. Kruger and, like Ms. Sherman, is still alive to this day. Kruger artwork is easy to spot due to the aforementioned black and white with red formatting as well as the fact that the font used for all of the words on the art is either Helvetica or Futura Bold Oblique.
Richard Prince is another artist that relies heavily on photos as a medium and he also uses images are iconic or evocative, either in substance or in basic content, but he does it in a bit of a different way. Mr. Prince does something known as "re-photographing" during which he takes an image that pre-exists and repurposes it as a piece of art. The most notorious example of this has probably got to be his work "Urban Cowboy" which is a rehash of cigarette advertisement. Like Ms. Sherman, he has also used borderline-or majorly taboo pictures that imply or overtly express sexuality.
In the case of Mr. Prince, these manifestations are sometimes rendered in socially unacceptable ways and/or with girls that are entirely too young in the opinion of many to be. The sterling example of this in action was the picture he repurposed of a ten-year-old Brooke Shields standing in a bathtub which many have interpreted to be indicative of a sexually precocious little girl. Just as with Ms. Sherman and Ms. Kruger, has and continues to operate over the same general time frame. Both Ms. Kruger and Mr. Prince were born in the 1940's. Ms. Sherman is a bit younger as she was born in 1954.
The final three of the artists to be compared to Sherman is Mr. Longo. Mr. Longo is comparable to the other artists, Ms. Sherman and Mr. Prince in particular, based on his heavy use of black and white as well as shadow effects to evoke a strong image without having to "steer" the viewer of the art all that much. Like Kruger, one can usually tell a Longo work when one sees it as there is very often a strong theme that is prevalent in much of Longo's work.
As for how these four artists will fare over time, Ms. Sherman will probably remain the most prominent, and for a number of reasons. First, Ms. Sherman clearly as the greatest range and done a fine job of doing a variety of different styles and effects without the quality diminishing. Ms. Kruger uses the same theme in most to all of her work and the same, although to a lesser extent, can be said of Longo. Prince does not have that issue, although he does have other concerns.
Prince's issue is that he is rehashing prior-made photographs and a lot of people will no doubt take that into account, and in a negative way, when they do so. Much akin to people that trace or otherwise copy the work of others for any reason, malicious or not, it is not the same thing as creating art out of whole cloth and making one's own signature.
The one thing that saves people like Longo, Kruger and Prince, just as an example, is that none one of them relies a lot on shock value. They can make a statement without using something that many would consider lewd or over the top. With Ms. Sherman, that is one of her trademarks. That being said, Sherman does not use this technique in all of her work and she can make a strong statement about women or other topics without using shock tactics and without so much as titling her work.
Clearly, all four artists use conceptual tactics to their great advantage and they all, each in their own unique way, do so with great adeptness and quality. However, Prince will simply not be able to be among upper echelons of art due to the use of pre-existing images and Ms. Kruger's depth of material probably leaves many people, now and for years to come, a bit wanting in nature. On the other hand, Sherman has been all over the map and has done quite well using all methods and tactics.