Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Who do you want to be today?

When I was a kid I had a recurring daydream about a machine that would let you change your appearance.  You could just plug in the different look you wanted, blond bob, smaller nose, whatever your chubby, little 10-year-old heart desired.  Maybe I was a tad too into "The Jetsons." It wasn't so much that I hated what I looked like (not always) but more was curious to see how it felt to be someone else.  Someone named Pamela.  If only for a day.  A week ago, when I walked into the MOMA to see the Cindy Sherman retrospective, I knew she wondered the same thing.

The exhibit is huge and fascinating, as Sherman transforms herself into aging socialites, abused prostitutes, Hollywood ingenues, and many, many, many other characters.   Viewing her photographs is like taking a swan dive into your own issues with identity and beauty.  All of the pictures are untitled, leaving the viewer to project her perceptions of class and gender while wading through the throngs of French people who manage to look chic and casual at the same time (how?  is there a class?).   My favorite photo was one in which a woman coming home from a hard day's work, in a rush to get dinner started, knocks over the grocery bag and is hunched over the ruins, wondering why nothing can go right.  Or at least that's what I saw at this point in my life.  Five years from now I'll probably have an entirely different interpretation.  See what you want to see, be who you want to be.  Go check out this exhibit!

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