June 28, 2010

Mars Ain't The Kind Of Place To Raise Your Kids

franco_rocket_clocktower.jpg

Noted actor James Franco is also less-noted artist James Franco. "THE DANGEROUS BOOK FOUR BOYS," his first exhibition, just opened at the latest [re]incarnation of Clocktower Gallery in lower Manhattan. It is curated by Beatrice Johnson and Alanna Heiss, who told the Wall Street Journal that Franco's work dealt with the "sexual confusion" our culture instills in young boys.:

The main gallery contains two wooden dollhouse-like structures, a wooden rocket ship and a fantasy playhouse, each a recreation of the structures featured within several of Franco's videos. The exhibit presents some twenty films and videos, including a collaborative work made with artist Carter, seven sculptures, dozens of photographs and drawings, site-specific video installations and ephemera.
Very busy. Beginning with a young man's destruction of a plywood playhouse in his first film in 2007, Franco has burned, shot up, or blown up various childhood play structures. Some of these, like the rocket playhouse above, have been re-fabricated for the exhibition. Others, like the two burned and bullet-ridden Little Tikes playhouses, are artifacts from the films.


With the easy realization of elaborate playground projects and the wanton demolition of gigantic plastic detritus, I would argue that Franco's work demarcates a previously unexamined connection between the muddled urges and societal expectations of boys and the sublimated woodworking fantasies of dads.

James Franco may just be the most important artist working in the medium of rockets since William Shatner.

The Dangerous Book Four Boys, through Sept 2010 at AIR Clocktower Gallery [artonair.org, image, too]
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Movie Star [wsj.com]

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