Cindy Sherman, National Portrait Gallery, review: a glossy retrospective for the original Selfie Queen

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Cindy Sherman Untitled Film Still #21, 1978
Cindy Sherman Untitled Film Still #21, 1978 Credit:  National Portrait Gallery

When Cindy Sherman’s fictionalised photographic ­self-portraits started appearing in late-Seventies New York, few can have imagined she’d sustain a whole career from this apparently niche activity, never mind make herself one of the most influential, not to say prophetic, artists of the past half century.

Her impersonations of characters from imaginary films felt of a piece with the alienated mood of the time, when the Western world was beset by cynical disillusionment, and New York was on the verge of bankruptcy. Even so, making herself the raw material of her art appeared a gimmick, whose impact was hardly likely to last.

Since then, though, the rest of the world has caught up: isn’t exploring...

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