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Guest of Cindy Sherman, A film by Paul H-O and Tom Donahue

I recently saw Guest of Cindy Sherman, the new film about the relationship between Paul H-O and Cindy Sherman. The film follows the relationship between the two for a period of about 6 years and is focused on Paul’s story. Ms. Sherman, who is notoriously press shy, in a way is the “Rosebud” of the film.

We are introduced to Paul H-O through the lens of his well known 1990’s public access TV show Gallery Beat, and spend the first quarter of the movie learning who he was at the time and how that show become known. We also get to see Julian Schnabel be a dick about the review of his show that the Gallery Beat team films. (I watched that part three or four times – it’s fun) What we come to learn is that Cindy Sherman of all people is a huge fan of the show, and following a chance encounter at another opening, Paul eventually gets Ms. Sherman on his show. From there, fireworks happen, trains go through tunnels, and love blooms.

The real crux of the movie starts to happen after this part, and it’s an interesting idea. The “lesser half” of a couple is a really curious subject for a movie, or even just conversation. I think everyone has dished about a couple they know at some point – it’s just human nature. Paul H-O’s world starts to turn and what I liked is that the relationship is timed with the early part of the boom of the art market we have just witnessed and it is quite a document of that time, as well as his personal story. The negative aspect to the film is that this is a one sided story. Ms. Sherman refused to take part in the movie, I’m not sure I blame her. I would have no idea how to handle the situation of my former lover making a movie about our relationship either.

The other downside is Paul H-O, he is a big personality, and I could see parts of that working against him in the relationship, as it does sometimes in the film. I wish I could have seen him a bit less “on camera” if you know what I mean.

Bottom line is this, it’s worth seeing. bring friends and go for coffee afterword and dish on all the artworld stuff in the movie. At worst you’ll have a great time with that, on the flip side maybe being in an entourage isn’t like that show on TV.

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