Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Guest of Cindy Sherman

Thursday 14 August 1980

Here is an artist who lives in the Goodman building named Paul H-O, a painter. He is about 26 and really good. I mean he’s got the technical down. I saw Leger. Paints with a brush, rarely masks or stencils. Brilliant colors and lines. Some Pop influence too I would say. A nice person but doesn’t give me enough credit; well, maybe he’ll begin to. He had on a Malevich button. I mentioned how I liked it and he asked me if I knew who it was - ! The nerve! Then he ended up saying “Smart gal.” Some fucking nerve.

And such was how and when I first met Paul Hasegawa-Overacker. I was having my first one-person show in San Francisco, in a building with big storefronts, filled with crazy artists. He was one of them. When I recently found this diary entry and shared it with him in an email, he replied:

What could I do? I thought you were hot, but you seemed (and were) completely uninterested in me as a guy, it was all business. You were kind of outrageous. I clearly knew I wasn't in your league so I was dismissive… I still have a lot of fucking nerve. Thanks for that incredible piece of your diary…..

Oh what we could write about being out of someone’s league and friendship construed as “business” (since we’re not interested in having sex) - but no matter. 29 years later I still know Paul H-O. And his film, Guest of Cindy Sherman, is playing on Thursday at the NW Film Center. I’ve heard some of the twists and turns and giddy ups and downs. I also know it’s not exactly the film he wished to make because, as he once explained, people have “life rights” – and Sherman exercised some of hers. Still, I’m looking forward to it. Trailers can be seen here and here.


Eva said...

Sometimes a very silly film, but I found myself relating to them both and not always in very comfortable ways. In Paul’s case, as the loser who is always there on the fringes but never quite bags it. As regards Cindy, she’s not removed from my role of the girl who dresses up and someone always wants to take a picture of “your costumes” (their words, not mine).

But in another way we couldn’t be further part, as I could not direct the conversation away from me as the object - and this she did. She dumped it all into the photograph. So that however she looks in real life, it’s so beside the point. You almost find the banter about how she looks and how she dresses (Prada of course!) in real life tedious. This film concentrates on the big given – sure, she’s hot – not as a way to humanize her, but maybe to reduce her.

I came home to a husband who was watching the same film on DVD, asking me over and over again: “Why can’t he just be happy about her success? Why does he have to blow it?” No doubt it’s more complex than that but one thing which struck me, something which was the case for me – she could have been much less successful, much less a star - and a lover who’s also an artist would want to tear it down. The competitive streak can be really destructive in a relationship.

m. said...

there is a lot to reflect on and respond to here...but your huz's reaction really captures me. what a gem.