Friday, February 17, 2012

Paging Dr. Sherman...

This fascinating case study, "Doctor and Nurse," is a pair of self-portraits by Cindy Sherman. I doubt whether I would deduce that these were photographs of the same subject if I didn't already know; not one of their features looks the same. How she transforms herself like this is a little beyond me. Besides having great photographic skills at her disposal, there's a large element of performance art here as well. It's just that the performance is going on before a camera rather than an audience.

The doctor and nurse are, I think, equally retro. They do not seem to have a lot of technology at their disposal; not even a stethoscope is visible. The doctor, male of course, appears very engaging, almost aggressively so. His personality seems to dominate this diptych and, in my view, he's interested to a great extent in the social aspects of the practice of medicine.

The nurse, female of course, is young and still in possession of very lofty ideals. She became a nurse to do good in this world.

I also get the sense that these two young professionals know very little about the realities of patient care.

Sale 2270 Lot 102
"Doctor and Nurse" (diptych). Sepia-toned silver prints, each 9 1/2x7 1/2 inches (24.1x19.1 cm.), and each with Sherman's signature and dates, in pencil, on verso. 1980; printed 1992
Estimate $5,000-7,500

Note:  I have herein previously published my musings on Disney's attitude toward the sex-role stereotyping of health care practitioners in Paging Dr. Mouse. It's not required reading in any medical school, but you can still make it a part of your syllabus.


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