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

The Mona Lisa Curse

Last night Leg of Lamb watched Robert Hughes’ documentary ‘The Mona Lisa Curse’, that first screened on British television in 2008.  The world’s grumpiest art historian is not happy.  He despairs of an art world where monetary value usurps critical interpretation and thinks that artists like Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst and collectors including Eli Broad and Alberto Mugrabi have a lot to answer for.

Highlights of the programme include Hughes’ aggressive dressing down of the vacuous Mugrabi, archival footage of Robert Rauschenberg confronting ruthless collector Robert Scull and interviews with animated former Met director, Thomas Hoving.  Hughes may be cranky, but he’s on to something – if art is stripped of meaning, if it comes to function purely as a commodity, then – commerce aside – what’s the point in making it?

The Mona Lisa Curse