This volume presents Cindy Sherman’s entire series of eighteen color photographs created between 2003 and 2004. She said: “I came to clowns to show the complex emotional abysses of a painted smile.”
At what point did you start scanning the Internet for promptings instead of scanning the street?
I guess when I did the clowns. When I first started shooting the clowns, I tried to use my imagination and made some not very successful pieces…. So I was curious what active clowns really look like, beyond circus clowns. And there are just so many people who call themselves clowns. Some of them look very professional and a little too sleek…. But then there are some whose websites show them performing outside on a hot, sweaty day with their makeup running, and they look like they’re wearing just any old overalls and a polka-dot T-shirt they found in a thrift store. When I found those sorts of pictures, it seemed like the variety of things I could do was sort of endless.
Do you think of the photographic object as your work, or do you think of the insides of the images as your work?
I guess the inside of the image. I don’t think of it as real photography because I don’t think people who like real photography think of it that way. People who are real photo fans like the early film stills, the black and whites that seem like real vintage photography, or there are people who complain about how big they are, like, “Who does she think she is?” It’s just the medium I chose to work with…. And I was thinking there aren’t many women who do really big macho-y kinds of things…. Usually with the figures I want them to be just a little bit larger than life-size.” Cindy Sherman: Interview with a Chameleon on Walker Art Center