|As the latest issue of Esquire notes, "The Guy is Everywhere"|
In many ways, Franco is a walking, breathing contradiction. Recognized as a Hollywood actor by most people, Franco came to international attention playing a superhero in the Spiderman franchise and has since appeared in mainstream films ranging from Tristan and Isolde (2006), Pineapple Express (2008), Milk (2008), and a host of 2010 summer films including the Oprah approved Eat, Pray, Love (2010). At the same time, Franco has successfully positioned himself as a "thinking" actor and performer, taking on more "serious" acting roles in small, independent projects while simultaneously attending Columbia University's and Brooklyn College's M.F.A. programs and New York University's Tisch School of the Arts graduate film program in 2009/10 (recall Lady Gaga's connection). He is now apparently beginning a Ph.D. program in English and Film Studies at Yale, and some minor controversy is already being reported about the university denying his request to teach undergraduate classes as a TA (can you imagine?). An important aspect of Franco's interests therefore include the integration of performative and conceptual art theories which are routine aspects of MFA and Ph.D. art/film history training, but often come off as bizarre to many outside the art school context.
|Franco playing "Franco" the multimedia artist on ABC's|
General Hospital (courtesy ABC)
**The range of Franco material on YouTube reflects the contradictions I have tried to conjure in my post. See for example this experimental film by Carter, Erased James Franco, where Franco plays both himself "re-enacting" every television and film performance from his career-- he calls it his favourite performance-- and this most recent clip of Franco playing Allen Ginsberg (very well I might add) in the soon to be released biopic Howl. At the other extreme, see this spoof of Franco's Gucci commercial outtakes. But the clip I have chosen dovetails nicely with my post on Marina Abramovic from last week (ironically enough, it will be appearing in the upcoming Abramovic movie I discussed). Here is the oddly humorous video of Franco visiting Abramovic's "The Artist is Present" exhibition at MoMA-- I am calling this "The Celebrity-as-Artist meets the Artist-as-Celebrity." I hope you enjoy the bizarre juxtaposition as much as I did.