Arts & Culture
James Franco likes to be many things to many people, hence his diverse array of career accomplishments. Although many teenage girls and Hollywood funny men love Franco, most art critics take a strong disliking towards his masterpieces.
Most recently, NY Mag’s Vulture published a piece by Jerry Saltz entitled, “At This Point, George W. Bush Is Actually a Better Artist Than James Franco.” How’s that for a mouthful, huh? Saltz gives Franco his due (sort of) by acknowledging his acting prowess in Springbreakers and 127 hours, but thinks his recent Pace Gallery “New Film Stills” show is completely horrendous. Besides that, he notes one of the reasons Pace welcomes such “art” is due to corporate merchandising and the growth of Pace’s desire for publicity.
Franco’s show is inspired by Cindy Sherman’s 1977-80 “Film Stills,” which have been replicated numerously throughout the art community.
Saltz elaborates on the originality of it all, “By now hundreds of young artists have riffed on the “Film Stills.” It’s almost required in art schools; It’s one of the most predictable holding patterns in all of art. I always tell students who do Sherman remakes, “Cool. Get them out of your system, then get back to work, and don’t show these to anyone. It’s just you masturbating and may mean you’re not meant to be an artist.”
This review comes in the wake of other reviews cast for Franco’s Broadway production, Of Mice and Men. Most notably, the New York Times review by Ben Brantley, in which the critic wrote, “The presentation is lucid, stately and neutral. Such traits might make this revival an excellent audiovisual aid for middle-school instructors who are teaching Steinbeck’s novella.”
He also notes both lead characters, Franco and Chris O’Dowd’s “heartthrob” status, suggesting that the excitement that roars from anyone in the crowd is exactly the result of that “celebritism” (I made up a word), and not so much the actors’ talents in their current roles.
James Franco took to his Instagram–he literally posts 5 times a day–to voice his discontent with Brantley, calling the writer “a little bitch” and claiming that the whole theater community hates him.The 36-year-old polymath has quite the ego, but we should give him some credit for attempting to excel in so many different artistic mediums. Most people choose one or two. But, alas, we shouldn’t over praise. The whole Instagram date with a 17-year-old still rings creepy AF. Also, it was likely a publicity stunt, knowing Franco’s antics, which may make the whole thing even worse?