The Crying Game

Anthony Howard
Elizabeth Dee
545 West 20th Street
Through June 24

The standout in a sharp group show, Anthony Howard's 34-minute, dust-pocked black-and-white film Oui We (2001) is a hilarious (when not excruciating) portrait of an artist desperate for an audience. Any audience. Pierre (Howard) parades a painting in front of MOMA, demanding that bystanders pass judgment, but his senseless, phlegm-caked, French-accented gibberish causes the public to either laugh or edge quickly away. Before long Pierre collapses like a fetus while his writhing limbs shred his painting. Later, conducting man-in-the-street interviews, his handheld mic crackling, he chases after a group of schoolkids in ties and skirts, who, à la Lord of the Flies, soon sense weakness. Screaming obscenities, they surround the sobbing hipster wannabe as he again curls up on the sidewalk. In other scenes, butt crack exposed above flapping trousers, Pierre clambers over scrap heaps and dirt piles, urinating and bellowing in solitary triumph. Whether humping a shapeless sculpture on the steps of the Met or crucified with duct tape in front of the Guggenheim, Pierre remains his audiences's unrequited lover.


Desperate for an audience: Howard's Oui/We
photo: Courtesy of Anthony Howard/Elizabeth Dee Gallery
Desperate for an audience: Howard's Oui/We

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