~BRING ON THE ‘DOCS’ !!
‘Doc’ PAUL H-O
and, ‘Doc’ TOM DONAHUE (co-directors) ‘Guest of Cindy Sherman’ at the afterparty,
THE CUTTING ROOM, NYC, TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL, APRIL 27, 2008
PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH
. . . BRING ON THE ‘DOCS’ !!!
as in . . doc-u-mentary !!
. . . from full-length (low budget) Indies like: ELEPHANT EYE’S ‘PLANET B-BOY’, and now, FILMLIKE’S ‘Guest of Cindy Sherman’ – to – big time – TV ‘Docs’ like SUNDANCE CHANNEL’S ‘NIMROD NATION’, and that other great TV sleeper – PBS.ORG’S – ‘CARRIER’/chronicling life on the nuke-powered warrior ship USS NIMITZ !! – to –
. . . in-your-face, (no-budget) mini-Indies !!! – such as those 4 short clips – screened at the journal Gallery last Sat – as part of their recent ‘Being True’/NIKE (‘hipster/slacker/skater’) American documentary photo/exhibit curated by EMMA REEVES and AARON ROSE, (who also curated the screening) and, better believe it – !! – no mini-Indie presentation, anytime !! soon – is gonna beat that screening – for sheer juice & stun gun impact – this – one time only – swift stab in the night showing – in terms of: line-up, talent, and on-the-edge presentation – totally flew over (and under) the radar – dead straight/ahead of the curve.
what can I say – beyond the obvious – it blew me away – just like ‘PLANET B-BOY’ and ‘Guest of Cindy Sherman’.
. . . the key, is – not just that these are ‘Docs’ – it’s that these are brilliant ‘Docs’ – and, they just seem to be coming at us fast & furious – from what looks to be all sides – they are, simply put, some of the best stuff being put forward in NYC, right now. kinda, like that big wave of comic-inspired art – that hit NYC a couple of seasons back, which despite a current, & brutal, turf shake-down – still pulses strong.
. . . look at this, its like a boxer getting beat up – to warm up & go on to win – first ‘PLANET B-BOY’ touches down in NYC, a few weeks ago, and, unknown to us – that was just the beginning, the ‘Doc’ momentum just kept on rollin’ – with exceptional ‘Docs’ & ‘Doc’ style shows – hitting the deck running, every time – ahead of the curve, right on the mark, totally down and totally entertaining – and completely without warning – within the space of less than a week, you got Paul H-O & Tom Donahue’s ‘Guest of Cindy Sherman’ opening at the TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL & then, 3 days later – the 4 ‘Being True’/NIKE clips at the journal Gallery.
(profiled in post below)
look out !! – The ‘Docs’ are coming back, not just to re-claim their fair share of the ‘art’ product turf – but, hopefully, to muscle in on some of that art ‘product’ cash flow – CINDY SHERMAN, NAN GOLDIN – move over !!
How many ‘Doc’ pix – did you see in ELI BROAD’S collection – ? EXACTLY. that’s what I mean – none !! – his collection was so behind the curve, as to be absolutely embarrassing. well, that’s the great thing about art – art moves on !! and you gotta follow the flow – and the flow is: the ‘Docs’ vs. the ‘Posers’ !! and in APRIL 2008 – the ‘Docs’ are winning.
(who said ‘posed’/staged/theatrical photos outrank or beat the archival photo, as ‘art’ product – anyways ? I’d like to punch ’em out – well. ok. back in the 80’s they were pretty hot.)
bye the way – ‘Poser’ in this case – refers to ‘posed’ or ‘staged’ photos, and, after-the-fact bio pix, and definitely what is, today – mostly, all deadbeat stale & staged – performance art.
unless you want to consider THE DARK FAIR – performance art – and I do !!
and . . . yo!, we don’t mean the ‘ULTIMATE POSERS’ – that’s a whole other POSER category – those guys are very much in the ‘Doc’ game. the NATE LOWMAN/DAN COLEN, ‘WET PAIN’ show at MACCARONE – was very much a NYC ‘Doc’/style show !!
we include RIRKRIT TIRAVANIJA, URS FISHER, maybe PAUL McCARTHY & definite, yes – the obvious hit of the month – RYAN McGINLEY – all as ‘Doc’ worthy !!
and, no – we don’t mean all we ever want to see is ‘Docs’ – we’ll ride that crazy DARK FAIR/MILWAUKEE INTERNATIONAL train – any old day. It’s just a matter – of stopping – to state the obvious – ‘Doc’ is the flavor flav of SPRING 2008 – NYC.
a great graphic design is still a great graphic design – & – you still jump – when one comes your way. in fact – this year’s SENIOR CLASS – GRAPHIC DESIGN/ADVERTISING at SVA – really rocked the art student/young professional turf – they contributed a lot of buzz to artlovers to follow up on – esp the SAGMEISTER show – so much so – here’s a shout out to them – they graduate this MAY 2008 – congrats!
comic/illustration still rocks much of the art here. PICTUREBOX, TAYLOR McKIMENS, MATT LEINES, the CINDERS crew, BRIAN CHIPPENDALE, even BRIAN BELOTT – some of the new street artists – they are just gonna get bigger, and bigger.
but all-in-all, those guys made their big splash – upon arrival – their wave has hit and – now a new wave is coming in – ‘staged’ photo/tableaus/re-created narratives/stilted or academic performance pieces are out !! the ‘Docs’ – are back – and want back in – big time !!
in fact, if you look no further, than that old ‘lost-it’ scourge of an art magazine – the APRIL 2008 – ARTFORUM – its mostly all ‘Doc’ realism/or aiming for ‘Doc’ realism – almost all the way through – the endless parade of paid for/full color/full page gallery ads. (though as usual, the commentary is pretty much a waste of time) – whether actual photography – or painting/drawing – ‘Doc’ aesthetics rule – from the black and white TOMOO GOKITA display at TAKA ISHII GALLERY in TOKYO; to more technically – RIRKRIT TIRAVANIJA’S ‘Foster You’re Dead’ poster at GALLERIA EMI FONTANA in MILAN; to MARK TANSEY at FAURSCHOU.COM, wherever that is – to EIJA-LIISA AHTILA at MARIAN GOODMAN in New York, to GREGORY CREWDSON at LUHRING AUGUSTINE in New York, WHITE CUBE in LONDON, and GAGOSIAN in Los Angeles; (ok, the CREWDSONS are staged – but yell ‘Doc’ – so we’re letting them in) – to the obvious – archival PETER HUJAR photos at MATTHEW MARKS, and – the not-so-obvious – also in New York, at L & M ARTS – the Chinese artist TIANBING LI – whose documentary painting style him sets him, in my mind’s eye – right on top of that huge Asian horde wanting to devour the artworld beast, so badly, though, let’s be honest – if that CHINA market isn’t the artworld equivalent of a con – what is ? well, what do I know ’bout making money ? that’s just my consensus on the actual contemporary art being shlepped to and from there. but, someone who’s been there – told me, even 2nd generation Chinese Americans who make it (very very big) in international finance/law, whatever – as well as most other native (super wealthy) Asians, like filling their huge homes up with Chinese or South Asian artifacts, whether it be antiques or contemporary art. . put it this way – they ain’t big on collecting AMERICAN FOLK ART, be it SHAKER ART or AMERICAN VINTAGE QUILTS !! if they can be talked into buying CHUCK CLOSE – remains to be seen !!
but, . . . back to the case at hand – the ‘Docs’.
Julian Schnabel’s ‘BASQIUAT’, and even, ‘BEFORE NIGHT FALLS’ – were great – but !! both were actually formatted as: documentaries – by someone who could pull it off !! – the #1 question that young artists hitting this town ask – is – “was ‘BASQUIAT’ a true rendition” – and yes, it was, & it still is one of the greatest art movies ever made – but, the big diff from then to now – is – that ‘PLANET B-BOY’ and ‘Guest of Cindy Sherman” – are true ‘Docs’ !! – the real people – the real talent – in their real story, in their real time – pretty much caught – as they were living it, making their art moment – LIVE !! . Art and it seems, movie making has caught up to real time. ONDI TOMONER and VASCO NUNES caught the vibe, early on – as anyone who saw early footage of the JOSH HARRIS/QUIET PARTY or the commercially released ‘DIG!’ already knows.
just to add some perspective – can you just picture a bunch of pro theatrical Broadway dancers re-creating ‘PLANET B-BOY’ ? that’s such a ridiculous concept, such an ugly scenario – it just cracks me up – and, who else could play Paul H-O & CINDY SHERMAN – better than, they do !!
Paul H-O, video camera in hand – made to feel like a second cousin, if that – to Cindy’s capital A ART photography.
it’s interesting to stop and consider – that – ‘Guest of Cindy Sherman’ – is really about 2 – two !! – polarities – it’s not just about the polarity of male and female – it’s also about the polarity of artist/photographer (Cindy) vs. ‘Doc’/photographer (Paul H-O). Not only does it give us exceptional bird’s eye views of how each side ‘creates’ – but it also – very much shows us which side is/was favored by the artworld at that time – it was a very unbalanced and very unwarranted bias in favor of staged – ‘I am art’ product. What was wrong with the artworld – or really the big collectors, who determine and actually define – the market – at that time – (and now too, probably). Are they that unsubtle that they can only perceive art that is “plated” for them. how can any serious art maven – miss out on the significance, beauty and can-never-be reproduced ‘art’ of the Documentary photo ?
In fact, Cindy’s work began as a kind of send up of the ‘Doc.’ And, her camera is also focused solely on herself – but not in real time – not as a visual journal – but as ‘making a point ‘ – ‘creating a fantasy’ – a personal ability to be camo/girl in ‘mock-up’ land. Most of Cindy Sherman’s work (nix on those clown photos, ugh) is great art – no matter how you slice and dice it – but it’s not the only genre – why should it be the only photo on the a wall – in that huge grouping in ELI BROAD/LA AA land ? Paul H-O might yet, get the final word. or at least a respectful re-evaluation from a new hipper generation. His ‘Doc’ photo art – is just as intense, just maybe not as capital A ART as Cindy’s.. His photo art is more akin to a digital version of ‘wake and bake’ – you know – like, when you wake up and the first thing you do is get stoned, that’s called ‘wake & bake ‘ – except in this case, it was – wake & film. the video camera diary vs. the staged portrait – why can’t it be both that score the artworld gold. the newly appreciated ‘Doc’ rush looks to be real. though these ‘Docs’ – are definitely not !! stoner ‘Docs’ – in the least !! – nor, could you term them ‘reality’ shows – without getting kicked in the face. though obviously, YouTube – and digital camera culture – helped set the tone.
one last word: on ‘Guest of Cindy Sherman’ – actually one of the things so fascinating about the film – is – how well – it gets across Cindy’s game – there is no put down of her work – but the role of observer is so well done by the ‘Doc’ behind the camera of the film – that the Eli Broads of the world – just can’t make the leap.
(bye the way, heard that Cindy Sherman and Nan Goldin hate each other – oops – we weren’t supposed to say that – if this needs to come down – so be it !! can’t resist the low-down, for the moment.)
SO, . . who else is in the ‘Doc’ game ?
besides the filmmakers above, and of course the 22 young artist/photographers in ’22 YEARS OF AMERICAN YOUTH’ – ‘BEING TRUE’/NIKE – that surfaced recently at the journal Gallery.
#1 – all those great ROCK N’ ROLL chroniclers, of any decade !!!
AARON ROSE’S ANP QUARTERLY is great ‘Doc’ art magazine.
and, well, no brainer – how about last Fall’s LARRY CLARK show (SEPT 8-OCT 13, 2007) at LUHRING AUGUSTINE – it’s so obviously the grand daddy – so therefore, its so easy to overlook – but the show’s poster – the only poster from that season, still up on our wall – just keeps on rollin’ – looking better and better, as time passes. and you can include ‘KIDS’ here, too. HARMONY KORINE is all about ‘Doc’ style. AGNES B – seems to get it !!
if you wanna to walk the wild side – than, that’d be – my pal, PORTS BISHOP – and if you wanna get really wild – I’d throw artlovers right into the mix, too, cause if I’m not gonna – who is ?
. . . like the APRIL 29 BlackBook Insider!! says – “Breaking out is hard to do !!”
those guys, BlackBook – finally – sent out their first decent missive – they got one nano-second to throw something your way – !! – what else – 3 documentary portrait photos: COLIN MELOY leaving the DECEMBERISTS, in San Francisco; PETER MOREN, of Peter Bjorn and John, attempting a solo flight in Los Angeles; and ADAM YAUCH (MCA) of the Beastie Boys .. who is, quote: “Gunnin’ for That #1 Spot when he discusses his new documentary!! at the Apple Store in SoHo . . . so support these guys in their solo endeavors, because .. as they say, breaking out is hard to do.”
A SELECTION FROM THE AD PAGES OF ARTFORUM/APRIL 2008:
RIRKRIT TIRAVANIJA, ‘FOSTER, YOU’RE DEAD’, APRIL 3-31 MAY, 2008,
Galleria Emi Fontana, Milano
PETER HUJAR, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York
‘Doc’ style painting – MARK TANSEY, ‘FIX’ , 2000, OIL ON CANVAS, 30 x 46 ins. Faurschou/Copenhagen/Beijing
‘Doc’ style drawing – TOMOO GOKITA, APRIL 1-26, 2008, Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo
‘Doc’ style painting – TIANBING LI, ‘ME AND MY BROTHER, MARCH 20-APRIL 26, 2008,
L & M ARTS, New York