In “ILLUMInations,” the main exhibition at this year’s Venice Biennale, lies a small gallery with walls covered floor to ceiling by larger-life-than photographs of Cindy Sherman in dress-up, framed by a background of blown-up images of 18th-century pastoral engravings. In typical Sherman style, she uses wigs and costumes to assume different roles, though in the case of “Murals,” the roles aren’t as clear as her usual easily identifiable stereotypes. First, we have Sherman in a baggy, Band-Aid colored body suit of naked woman. The breasts and pubic hair are rudely constructed. They look like something a child would make if children made naked body suits.She holds a sword at her crotch, suggestively pointed upwards, ever ready to juxtapose images of female sexuality with the power traditionally ascribed to the male phallus – an association so obvious and overdone by this point it teeters on boredom.
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