by Jane “CoCo” Cowles
Before Cindy Sherman, there was Jo Nivison Hopper. She played as many roles as Sherman, but unlike Sherman, she was not her own muse; she was her husband’s. From a woman staring vacantly, lost in thought, staying up all night over coffee or undressing in front of a window, Jo captured every look. Much like Sherman, who is known for transcending the lines of identity by using her body as a canvas, Hopper uses his wife Jo to characterize many stereotypical female roles. Both Hopper and Sherman portray looks of isolation and alienation: Hopper’s women suggest isolation by choosing to be alone: Sherman’s women suggest alienation with the solitude that comes from being rejected.