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Cindy Sherman | Top 100 women

American artist and photographer, famed for her self-portraits in disguise, subverting notions of identity and gender

"The work is what it is and hopefully it's seen as feminist work, or feminist-advised work," says Cindy Sherman about her art, "but I'm not going to go around espousing theoretical bullshit about feminist stuff." But feminists were eager to claim her, inspired by her photographs that were not self-portraits but spoke of gender, identity and power.

In her early Untitled Film Stills, Sherman, always her own favourite muse, appears as B-movie cliches – as sex object or domestic drudge. In her Centerfolds series, she appears as a seductress and in another as terrified and vulnerable. Sherman, 57, has become everything from career woman to clown, beauty to hag, doll to dead, playing with disguise and stereotypes.

Her work, spanning more than 30 years, has made her one of the most important, and collected, female artists in the world. Last year, a 6ft photograph of Sherman as a muddied corpse sold for a record $2.7m (£1.7m).


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