Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Art World's Big Bad Boys Club look stupid. Again.

I went and saw Guest of Cindy Sherman this weekend to scratch the artworld catiness itch I'd been having. Filmed documentary-style by Ms. Sherman's former lover, Paul H-O, I expected the film to make the notoriously lime-light-avoider Cindy Sherman look like a phoney, but to my surprise and delight, Ms. Sherman was portrayed as a sweet, creative, beautiful, and kind artist. Paul films her working in her studio where she pensively and unfussily dresses and makes herself up, sitting on the floor surrounded by brushes, wigs, and dresses, almost like a child playing dress-up. Even as the relationship between Paul and Cindy sours, she maintains her appeal while Paul looks like a whiner whose ego can't handle having a girlfriend who outscores him in terms of money, fame, and power.

Not everyone in the artworld, however, walks away unscathed. The always easy-to-hate Julian Schnabel behaves like a beastly egomanic, chastizing the documentarians who dare make light of the gallery scene, in particular, one of Mr. Schnabel's solo shows. Later in the film, Eric Fishl proves to be similarly boorish, discussing the career of his wife, less renouned artist April Gornik, and admitting that if her career had outshined his, he would have not been able to stay with her. The big, maturbatory paitings of the so called bad-boys of the '80s become the butt of videographer's Paul H-O's jokes. Unfortunately, those bad-boys let their egos get in the way of the jokes just rolling off; by getting immediately defensive and returning good-hearted jabs with much harsher words, the "bad boys" appear afraid of being caught wearing the emperor's new clothes, or is it the emperor's new "broken plates?"

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