HANDS ON: Cindy Sherman

The following activity ideas can be used to engage audiences in a hands-on approach to processing the ideas presented in the artist's film segment. They were compiled from our Educators' Guides and Screening Toolkits. Activities include not only visual art strategies but writing, research, and other disciplinary methods. Additional resources and strategies for teaching with films and working with contemporary art can be found in Teach.


"Untitled (#153)," 1985. Color photograph, 67 1/4 x 49 1/2 inches. Edition of 6. © Cindy Sherman. Courtesy Metro Pictures, New York.

Create two photographic self-portraits: one by working alone, and the other by working with a partner who can act as photographer and director. Compare the two photographs, decide which presents the "truer" self, and explain why it does.


SEGMENT: Cindy Sherman in "Transformation"

Working with a small group of students, choose a Sherman photograph and ask each person to write a short story that relates to the character portrayed in the image. Compare similarities and differences between each of the stories, and discuss the aspects of the photograph that inspired different interpretations.

How does Sherman suggest narratives through her work? The artist expresses her desire to figure out "how to imply narrative" in a single frame in her series, Untitled Film Stills. Consider the ways technology has changed our relationship to video and photography. Take on the challenge of trying to tell a story with one photograph. Share each student's photograph, discussing which ones are the most successful and why they are.


"Untitled (#351)," 2000. Color photograph, 30 x 20 inches. Edition of 6. © Cindy Sherman. Courtesy Metro Pictures, New York.