James Franco Plays “Dangerous”
With a roster including Terence Koh, Dan Colen, Bruce LaBruce, and the late Dash Snow, the Peres Projects gallery is familiar with fame that extends beyond the art world’s stratosphere. But its latest get is an even rarer sort of art star: a household name (and soon to be Academy Awards host). That name, of course, is James Franco, and his first European solo exhibition just went up at the two Peres Projects sister spaces in Berlin. While fame is not the focus of Franco’s The Dangerous Book Four Boys, he sprinkled grace note allusions to his star power throughout the witty multimedia exhibition. But the theme of play that links his clutter-art installations is the fun sort of play, not necessarily the acting sort—it animates his melted toy houses and video installations of Captain Kirk and Dr. Spock, ahem, exploring their sexual tension (just the sort of video that makes is-he-or-isn’t-he speculation such an evergreen media fascination).
Of course, acting and the fame it has afforded Franco has given him the opportunity to play on a big stage. After center stage at a media blitz at the Peres Project Kreutzberg space, Franco headed for the private opening party in the elegant Peres Projects Mitte gallery’s vaulted-ceilinged basement party space. There, while sitting across from German fashion icon Veruschka and mega-model Luca Gadjus, Franco explained that art is the forum that enables him to connect widely disparate and often controversial endeavors in acting, literature, and academia. “All these worlds influence each other and translate into art,” he explained. “Artists are expected to work in different mediums and explore different disciplines. They are permitted to experiment. Outside the art world, even in established creative fields, there are still perceived divisions between high/low culture and different areas of intellectual inquiry. But art is freer and more forgiving.” And you don’t have to gnaw off your arm to make it.—Ana Finel Honigman
Photo: Toni Passig / Getty Images