SEGMENT: Cindy Sherman in "Transformation"

“I didn’t want to make what looked like art,” Cindy Sherman says about her earliest works, explaining that “film has always kind of been more influential to me than the art world.” The segment surveys thirty years of untitled works in which the artist photographs herself in various scenes and guises, grouped into informally-named series such as fairy tales, centerfolds, history portraits, Hollywood/Hampton types, and clowns. Sherman used a digital camera and green screen for her most recent series of society portraits, modifying each image’s “background with the same kind of license that a painter would take.” Sorting through test shots at the computer, Sherman leads the viewer through her iterative process. The segment later follows her to a thrift store where, upon finding several “wacky pants” she wonders if this shopping trip “might be inspiring a whole new series.”