Acclaimed Cindy Sherman Retrospective Comes to Vancouver Art Gallery this Fall

The Vancouver Art Gallery presents Cindy Sherman
in Collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, London

Critically-acclaimed retrospective of more than 170 works including rarely-seen photos peers deep into the process of this master of disguise

The Vancouver Art Gallery presents Cindy Sherman from October 26, 2019 to March 8, 2020, an acclaimed retrospective of more than 170 works by the American artist known for her conceptual portraits. This exhibition focuses on Sherman’s manipulation of her own appearance and her deployment of material derived from a range of cultural sources, including film, advertising and fashion. Organized by the National Portrait Gallery, London, in collaboration with the Vancouver Art Gallery, it is the first retrospective of Sherman’s work in Canada in twenty years.

“In a community of photo conceptual artists, we are proud to have Cindy Sherman headline our fall season,” says Daina Augaitis, Interim Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery. “Evoking the power of appearances, Sherman has for more than four decades adopted hundreds of characters in her creation of fictional portraits that both highlight and confront notions of beauty, aging, sexuality and the gaze. Received with rave reviews at the National Portrait Gallery, this must-see retrospective is a comprehensive examination of the world renowned artist’s practice.”

Cindy Sherman at the Vancouver Art Gallery showcases a selection from every major photographic series the artist has produced, from the early Untitled Film Stills of the 1970s, through to her newest Untitled #602 created in 2019, which highlights the artist’s consistent engagement with the fashion industry. Exploring the development of Sherman’s work from the beginning of her career in the mid-1970s to the present, the exhibition includes rarely-seen photographs and films created while Sherman was an art student at the State University College at Buffalo from 1972 to 1976.

This exhibition also features a digital version of A Cindy Book, a personal album of family photographs tracing back to the artist’s childhood. Another exhibition highlight are the depictions of Sherman’s studio in New York with a selection of source materials including her notes, sketches, and other behind-the-scene elements that have influenced her work. Additionally, the Vancouver Art Gallery presentation includes a number of Sherman works from its permanent collection.

Considered one of the most influential artists of her generation, Cindy Sherman was born in 1954 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. Her work is integral to the conceptual approach to photo-based art that began taking shape in the late 1970s, particularly by artists in New York City known as the Pictures Generation. Utilizing makeup, costumes, props and prosthetics to stunning effect, she transforms herself into strangely familiar yet fictitious personae. From modern socialite to film noire heroine, from grotesque clown to coiffed collector, Sherman’s photographs depict her always through a veneer of representation.

The prolific Sherman enjoys an extremely active career as an artist. She has participated in four Venice Biennales. Her work has been included in five iterations of the Whitney Biennial, two Biennales of Sydney, and the 1983 Documenta. Sherman has been the recipient of the Praemium Imperiale, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and a Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. Recently, she has bridged her art to social media, with an Instagram following of more than 260,000.

Cindy Sherman is organized by the National Portrait Gallery, London in collaboration with the Vancouver Art Gallery. A new exhibition of the artist’s work will be shown at Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris in Spring/Summer 2020.

The exhibition is accompanied by a lavishly illustrated catalogue, which will be available for purchase at the Vancouver Art Gallery store.

Generously supported by:
Artworkers Retirement Society

Additional support from:
Sheahan and Gerald McGavin

Image: Cindy Sherman, Untitled #588, 2016/18, dye sublimation metal print, Courtesy of the Artist and Metro Pictures, New York

About the Vancouver Art Gallery (

Founded in 1931, the Vancouver Art Gallery is recognized as one of North America’s most respected and innovative visual arts institutions. The Gallery’s ground-breaking exhibitions, extensive public programs and emphasis on advancing scholarship all focus on historical and contemporary art from British Columbia and around the world. Special attention is paid to the accomplishments of Indigenous artists, as well as to the arts of the Asia Pacific region—through the Institute of Asian Art that the Gallery founded in 2014. The Gallery’s programs also explore the impacts of images in the larger sphere of visual culture, design and architecture.

The Vancouver Art Gallery is a not-for-profit organization grateful to the support it receives by its members, individual donors, corporate funders, foundations, the City of Vancouver, the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council, and the Canada Council for the Arts.

The Vancouver Art Gallery is situated on traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-waututh) peoples, and is respectful of the Indigenous stewards of the land it occupies, whose rich cultures are fundamental to artistic life in Vancouver and to the work of the Gallery.

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Media release and image provided by Hanah Van Borek, Vancouver Art Gallery.

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