"Documentary now" again via IMDb.
You know what kind of story "The Artist is Waiting" is about one minute mark, when a plausible Klaus Biesenbach looks like a deadpans that Izabella Barta, a show played by Cate Blanchett, is "without a doubt, the most important artist of the last half century. "A few moments later, we see Barta's face on a small screen in Times Square. He is gloomily devouring a tube of red lipstick. Then he is cycling in a circle in an empty square, howling. The satire of the performing arts is omnipresent and not specific, but this has a precise reference: the documentary by Marina Abramović The artist is present.
"The Artist is Waiting" is the fourth episode of the third season of Documentary now, an often brilliant IFC series created by Fred Armisen and Bill Hader. Each episode is a mini parody of a specific, real, critically acclaimed documentary. (They are all presented by Dame Helen Mirren in a little red dress.) Gray Gardens becomes a Blair Witch Project– classic horror film; the stoico sushi chef of Jiro Dreams of Sushi becomes the chicken chef of Juan likes rice and chicken.
As a basic material, it is almost niche as one would expect from a play on IFC – the second episode is a riff on the ethical failures of the silent film of 1922 Nanook of the Northbut in good satire, the knowledge of the original is not essential. It helps, but the jokes can be fun for both strangers and insiders. (This is perhaps the reason why I devoured the 2017 police procedural satire Anime Crimes Division in two days, despite not knowing anything about souls and very little about crimes).
"The Artist Is Waiting" is a lot of fun, largely thanks to the ability of Cate Blanchett to instill a sort of psychotic calm to Barta. His shallow, panting laugh implies that breathing deeper would trigger a cry of pain. When she picks up cell phones from young artists who have traveled to her isolated country house to try out her works, she tells them, "You'll be so happy, no one will know where you are," smiling like a goblin. Previously, reflecting on the need for a constant reinvention, she says, "Once you jump out of your closet and you'll be shocked." But I do the same thing for thirty years, at some point you'll tell me "Hey, take your closet to hide "," as if hiding in the public closet was the most natural metaphor, obvious for performance art in the world.
Documentary now distorts Abramović's story by transforming his performance partner in real life, Ulay, into a lazy and art-grifter opportunist named Dimo, played by Fred Armisen. The real Ulay was, by all accounts, a sensitive and industrious partner during his collaborations with Abramović; Dimo no. He rides Barta's tails towards the celebrities of the art world and is honored for his ideas. When they stage a breaking performance in which they cross the Empire State Building staircase, planning to meet right in the middle – a riff on Abramović and Ulay's three-month journey along the Great Wall of China-Dimo ruins him by stopping for several cigarette breaks and then taking the elevator. The episode ends with Barta, who repays Dimo with a joke cum-performance that sees him fall through a trapdoor in a penis-shaped cubit on a life-size photograph of a male horse: the artistic way of calling someone a total cock.
This is the only thing that you hear outside the episode: attacking the trends in search of fame mainly to Dimo, "The Artist Is Waiting" ends with the image of Barta as an artist resolute feminine who takes revenge on an unscrupulous child-man whose ego has overshadowed his work. Although this is a good story, I'm not sure how much it has to do with Marina Abramović, an undeniable brilliant artist of incredible resistance who has also done a lot of bullshit to cement her fame alone: help Lady Gaga kicks his marijuana habit by ending it and directing her to consume no more than art for three days, for example, or entering into a very useless spasm with Jay-Z for her adaptation of her work in the "Picasso Baby" video .
Of course, the parodies that travel very far from their source material can be absurd and delicious, but for me, the funny thing about Abramović is not the hyperbolic nature of its performance or its gravity. It's when he's doing stuff in public, and the stoic picture falters: he's no less an artist, but he's also one of us, with a recognizable tendency to fiction. Or, as Izabella Barta says in a performance with the title domesticated in which he throws milk on his hands and knees while being considered by an expensive domestic cat: "I am human! I am human!"