Smith on Franco

James Franco, 'New film still #58', 2013
James Franco, ‘New film still #58’, 2013

“The deep content here, beneath the entitled narcissism, is a confused desperation that seems to drive Mr. Franco’s pursuit of visual art. It’s hard not to feel some sympathy for him, while also wishing that someone or something would make him stop.”

Roberta Smith lays into James Franco’s New Film Stills in the New York Times.

Smith on Franco

Sherman on Franco

Detail from James Franco's New Untitled Film Still 21 (2013); detail from Cindy Sherman's Untitled Film Still 21 (1978)
Detail from James Franco’s ‘New Untitled Film Still 21’ 2013 (left) and detail from Cindy Sherman’s ‘Untitled Film Still 21’ 1978 (right)

Art world darling (and certified creep) James Franco recently launched a new and appallingly bad photo series at Pace Gallery, New York, that riffs on Cindy Sherman’s iconic film stills. “Cindy is an artist who used cinema as a source for her work; she ‘played’ at being an actress” says Franco. “I am an actor who inserts himself into his work. 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.” Hmm. When asked about Franco’s appropriations last week, Sherman said: “I was flattered, I can only be flattered. I don’t know that I can say it’s art, but I think it’s weirder that Pace would show them than that he would make them.” Not exactly a glowing endorsement then…

Sherman on Franco