Cindy Sherman “Doll Clothes” 1975

Screen Cindy Sherman’s short film: “Doll Clothes” from 1975. Click here.


Via the Ubu.Web Film & Video Archive – (An Amazing Resource!)

“When I was in college, I made this book of doll clothes for my photography course. I was documenting a piece that I had already made for a film course, but I wanted to bring the doll to life so I shot myself doing all the poses, and it became this goofy little film. It completely ties in to everything I’m doing now because I decided that I liked the cut-out figures more than the film.” -Cindy Sherman

“One of the First Cindy Sherman’s super-8 film,”Doll Clothes” has not been viewed since 1975, the year it was made. It comically crosses Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase with animated paper dolls in a sly, funny and clever precursor to the concerns that became signature elements in Sherman’s remarkable body of photographic work.” –

“Sherman’s 1975 animated short Doll Clothes, is among the pieces that bring Sherman’s early exploration of gender and identity into focus.” – Paul Ha and Catherine Morris

React & Respond in the comments sections below.

Questions to consider:

  1. After screening the film (is it really a film?) share your first impressions in contrast to the artist’s current work on the popular platform Instagram <– go here.
  2. What similarities do you see? What contrasts are obvious and why?
  3. How did you experience the works shared in this post? Your mobile device? Tablet? Laptop? I would like to know. How did you make this choice?
  4. What other artists do know of that share a connection with the genre of Identity exploration?



  1. Avatar
    Len Antinori says:

    Interesting to see this formative work by Cindy Sherman. I really enjoyed its humor but also recognized its seriousness.
    I have always respected her ability to morph into the roles that she played in her photographs over the years.
    At first I thought that this is such a low tech short film, then I found out it was a school project, shot in Super 8mm, a medium that is near and dear to my heart having used my dad’s super 8 camera as a young boy, but without the creativity of Sherman.
    One thing is clear, that from the start Sherman would utilize her own image in various empowered, conceptual female guises, like no other female artist/photographer of the 20th century.
    While viewing the many recent Cindy Sherman Instagram photos, you can see the connection with her own image from its beginning in DOLL CLOTHES to her current work. She has been true to her concept of (self) portraiture regardless of the reaction that it evokes.
    As I recently delved into using my own face, for the first time, as subject matter for a series of digital illustrations, I now realize just how hard it is for the artist to open him/herself up for people to scrutinize the image as an extension of one’s self, and I have never felt so vulnerable. Cindy Sherman has made an entire career using and controlling that vulnerability, and I now have even more respect for her bravery than I did just a month or so ago.

    With that in mind, I have to discuss the identity exploration inherent to one of my all time favorite artworks – VanEyke’s self portrait, MAN WITH A RED TURBAN. I respect this painting, not only because of its technique which is stunning for its era, but because of the artist’s confident stare directly into the eye of the viewer. In that gaze, he makes a bold statement complemented with an outlandish red hat inviting all to either like it or not. This attitude ushered in the Humanism that all others of the Renaissance will base their intellectual and artistic pursuits upon. And it all stems from the power of a self portrait.

    I watched this video on my desktop computer, at home.
    Len Antinori

  2. Avatar
    Wilmer Cuba says:

    At first glance, I didn’t really understand the short film. Initially the only thing that came to mind was that women enjoy playing dress up. I thought to myself that perhaps I don’t get it because I’m not a woman, and that perhaps most women watching this film would understand it. But then I watched the short film a second time. Then I thought to myself that perhaps there is a deeper meaning or message to the video, like maybe that society is dictating how women should look, or that a woman’s identity is dictated by society or people around her, or that what is considered beauty for a woman is controlled by the psychology of society instead of the individual woman herself. In the film, the woman finds an outfit that she likes and puts it on. Then a human hand removes the outfit, therefore stripping her of her own individual tastes or likes, puts the dress back with the other outfits, and puts the woman doll back in her assigned place. Ultimately I think the message is that woman have been stripped of their identity by society.

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    Andrea says:

    I believe people might call this a video or vignette today instead of a film (some might even refer to it as a short film). Compared to her work today this has a very antiquated look but I really enjoy both styles. It shows Sherman’s versatility and depth as an artist (I might also be more partial to her medium). I viewed this work on my laptop. I would prefer to watch videos on my laptop but I found it weird to be on Instagram on my laptop as I was comparing Sherman’s work. I usually view Instagram via the app on my phone. I really enjoy how Sherman questions social identity and norms throughout her work.

  4. Avatar
    Hannah Kerin says:

    I feel as if this is not a film, but more a moving still picture, or a collection of pictures. Cindy’s current work on Instagram is more modern 3-D photographic with effects, unlike this piece were the effects are more basic, and 2-D and less colorful.

    The similarities include the application of herself in a lot of her pieces and in my opinion the idea of feminism, what is considered beautiful by society vs what natural real beauty is.

    Like I said earlier, contrasts mainly include the use of more modern effects and visual representation and a more 3D approach rather than 2D, as well as the use of color.

    I used a laptop, mainly because I was during other work for school, otherwise I would have chosen a phone.

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    Kim Toledo says:

    Today i think this will be considered a short film that was created above. The similarities are Cindy Sharman herself. She used/still uses herself as the subject on various occasions. With her work thats published on instagram its very vibrant compared to her earlier work. She is keeping herself relevant in the art world by making 3D work, collages and more. I find her work evolving with todays society but she is also staying true to the meaning behind her earlier work. I personally am a fan of both styles, i believe as an artist staying relevant will be and is the hardest thing to face. Cindy Sherman sure is keeping up! I viewed this on my laptop but looked up her Instagram on my phone using the app. At the start of this i didn’t know of any other artists that share a connection with identity exploration. This led me to do research and i came across two photographers that relate. Specifically to Cindy Shermans foundation and self portraits i thought photographer Lulu Lovering was very interesting and similar. The other photographer Holly Andres caught my eye because the genre is the same but her work is cinematic and detailed with a touch of sinister. (check them out!)

  6. Avatar
    Madeline Nunley says:

    My first impressions of the short film were that I loved the sense of movement, it is really choppy and stop motion like. I thought that this type of motion created a different environment and aided in the subject matter. It wasn’t meant to be fluid or have a real story line or so I believe and the way it was filmed showcases that exactly. I experienced this on my laptop and on a large projection screen, I think that if I were to watch this little film on my phone that the experience would be different and mimic vine or instagram boomerangs. The way you watch it definitely influences how the viewer views it and so I think watching her film on my computer helped my perspective step further back from a social media presence compared to if I were watching this on my phone.

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