Who won't you see on any red carpets, parties, or junkets for the documentary Guest of Cindy Sherman? Cindy Sherman. The as-yet-unsold movie, which had its world premiere last night at Tribeca Film Festival, is "a travelogue through the art world," says Tom Donahue, a filmmaker who joined video artist Paul H-O to co-direct the movie. At its center is a series of interviews between Paul and the celebrated, wildly successful Sherman, which led to a romantic relationship. The film culls archival footage, over 70 interviews, and more to uniquely track the evolution and commodification of the art world from Warhol's final days to today's heady climate. But it was Paul's identity crisis in the shadow of Sherman, as the less-famous half of an artist couple, that first spurred the film. The film, in turn, spurred the breakup.
"One of the reasons they broke up was that we were making this film," Donahue explained at the pre-premiere party last night at 1 Oak. "Cindy was very supportive of it but didn't expect it to become the behemoth that it became. She started getting very nervous about it." Sherman retained final approval of the film (including its title) and was looking at rough cuts six months ago. "She had very good, reasoned arguments why she wanted certain things taken out," he said, but couldn't elaborate on examples: "I don't want to piss her off." But now, Donahue said, "She doesn't want to have any part of it. She's distanced herself from it, and she's like, 'I don't want to go to any events at Tribeca.'"
"I don't think she's very happy about it," echoed Paul H-O. "I don't know what she's feeling. I know that it must be tough on her. To have this much focused on her name. And on her work, in a project from a relationship she's no longer engaged in." The bespectacled Paul H-O sounded wistful. "She's in another relationship now. I wish that she felt differently and was with us right now." —Justin Ravitz