Thursday, April 16, 2009
Go See GUEST OF CINDY SHERMAN
Not to come off as a movie reviewer but I want to write about a movie that I saw last night, and, of course, about me.
Last night I went to see Paul H-O's Guest of Cindy Sherman. Paul H-O is this irreverent New York City Art World hanger-on er who back in the 1990's, when the art market was sliding into oblivion during an economic downturn, started a Cable Access TV show called Gallery Beat. Paul forsakes his art career to put all of his energies into this show which, to paraphrase him, maybe 40,000 people watch. But his infectious energy and from-the-hip candor leads him to meet all in the art world just as the economy takes shape and the Art World goes on a joy ride that takes it out of "homier" So-Ho and into Corporate, and humorless Chelsea.
Anyway- Paul somehow gets the attention of Cindy Sherman, the great Artist/icon/photographer and does a multi-part interview with her. Sherman is known as a recluse when it comes to the media, but she provides Paul with total access. They soon are smitten with each other and Paul and Cindy become something of an item just as her career leaps from stardom to super-rock-star Madonna-like status. For a while the ride is lots of fun, but soon Paul is becoming uncomfortable with his role (or lack there of) . Paul is sick of being seated separately at dinners (with place cards saying Guest of C.S.) and begins to look for an outlet.
As a chronicler of things over almost a decade, Paul does what he does best and carries his camera with he tries to figure out this dilemma. His access is now even greater through his connections to Sherman, so Paul goes on to interview David Furnish (otherwise known as Elton John's husband) and other spouses of uber-famous people as they all commiserate about things like getting cropped out of pictures by the paparazzi. It is really sad, funny and Paul is endlessly infectious.
A nice movie for anyone who has been around the New York art scene for the past 10-15 years.
Which is where I come in...I watched the movie and fully expected to see myself walking past the background of any number of shots. But what was most telling and most articulate about the film was Paul's compelling description of how his Cable Access show went from running joke to "Get the fuck out of my gallery" once the art world started to crank in the money. It seems that no body liked or wanted to hear anyone say anything about the emperor's new clothes once the money rainstorm started to rage.
All of a sudden it was totally clear to me what happened to me and my art career over the last 10 years. All of my best attempts to be a gate crasher were appeased and then ignored, hoping I would just go away. Cindy Sherman, being a great artist, knew damn well that having Paul H-O around would keep her sane and grounded during this crazy head trip. And Paul, being a shrewd street smart guy got as close to the center as possible until he was finally asked to leave.
I've been saying for years now that the 90's was the best time in New York that I can remember. I got to see the 1980's up-til now. I am glad that money is leaving the scene. Oh-sure, I only wish I had got some before the faucet was turned off. But now that it's off, everyone can get down and dirty again. And I do better when everyone around me isn't turning away because I am such a slob.
I just have to keep reminding myself not to get too bitter about not getting what I never had, and start working again. Hopefully Paul H-O will keep on doing just the same thing too.
PS- Check out the NYTimes.com opinion page for the Proof section. Nice comments there from the readers Re: My Posts.