Actor turned artist James Franco has unveiled his latest exhibition, New Film Stills at Pace New York. It follows a successful show of his painting at the Gagosian Gallery. For his second exhibition at Pace, New Film Stills present a series of gelatin silver print photographs made in 2013 ranging in scale from 40-by-30 inch to 8-by-10 inch. Recreating Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills, Franco positions his body in the same pose, attire and scenario as Sherman did as the subject in her stills nearly 30 years ago. “Like Sherman’s characters,” Bidart writes in the introduction to the catalogue, “the figures [Franco] portrays outrun one’s naturalistic expectations in their stoicism and defiance, in their mystery. Somewhere in their expressions they keep an awareness of ‘a connection to the void.’ With this book Franco has made something profound.”
On the subject of this body of work, James Franco has remarked, “Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills broke new ground in so many ways: they can be read as critique of portrayals of women in film, a critique that goes hand in hand with the work of critic Laura Mulvey; they can be read as performances; as photographs; as examinations of types; they are both humorous and earnest. Cindy is an artist who used cinema as a source for her work; she ‘played’ at being an actress. I am an actor who inserts himself into his work. Where Cindy used cinema as a starting place, I use art as a starting place. She, like so many of my favorite artists (Douglas Gordon, Richard Prince, Dan Colen, Nate Lowman, Paul McCarthy) uses cinema in her work, but she comes at it from a position outside of Hollywood. I am fully embedded in Hollywood, but these photos allow me to take a step to the side, look back, and refashion the work I do in Hollywood. I am at the same time actor, critic, artist, and character.”
Pace London debuted Psycho Nacirema, multi-media installations by Franco presented by the Scottish artist Douglas Gordon. Franco’s work has been included in group exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art, New York and at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Franco holds MFAs from Brooklyn College, Columbia University, Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, Rhode Island School of Design and Warren Wilson College and is currently a PhD candidate at Yale University. Franco has taught a various institutions including Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Sothern California and California Institute of the Arts. He lives and works in New York and Los Angeles.
James Franco (b. 1978, Palo Alto, CA) is considered a leading actor of his generation as well as being a multitalented writer and visual artist. Drawing from his experience in film and television work, Franco has produced a body of video works, multimedia installations, and large-scale sculptures. His conceptual artworks range across media including painting, drawing, film, sculpture, installation and photography.
James Franco: New Film Stills Pace New York Apr 11, 2014 – May 03, 2014