In the mid-1970s, young artist Cindy Sherman, then a student at SUNY Buffalo State and on the verge of becoming an international art star, dreamed up an art project reminiscent of a high school prank. She made a rubber stamp in the shape of her lips and stamped it on each sheet of several rolls of toilet paper, which were then installed in bathrooms throughout the college’s Upton Hall.
The installation, which Sherman called “Art Attack,” was discovered by Castellani Art Museum curator Michael Beam in his research for an exhibition of Sherman’s photographs. And in a nod to Sherman’s student days, it was recently duplicated on 30 rolls of toilet paper installed in the museum.
The toilet paper installation is just a sideshow to the main event, however. “Western New York Collects: Cindy Sherman” features work from across Sherman’s career in Buffalo and far beyond. Her photographs, typically stylized self-portraits in which the artist presents herself in various costumes and guises, speak to the mutability of human identity.
The exhibition, made up of work from several local collections, is on view through July 20 in the Castellani. Admission is free. Call 286-8200 or visit http://castellaniartmuseum.org.