Why Is Cindy Sherman Making Faces?

THE DIDACTICS ACCOMPANYING THE Cindy Sherman retrospective (at the Walker through February 17) are truly didactic. They tell the reader-viewer what the work is and does, often by adjective—groundbreaking, important, celebrated, monumental. They are at once unnecessary—does anyone with even minimal familiarity with recent American life really need to be told what this work does?—and gross: They reduce Sherman’s kaleidoscopic effect to unitary statement.

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