James Franco and Co. Revive the James Dean Myth
Actor, writer, director, student, and sometime model James Franco has added another line to his curriculum vitae: museum curator. His new show, Rebel, for which he enlisted Paul McCarthy, Ed Ruscha, Harmony Korine, Aaron Young, and Terry Richardson, among others, to riff on the complexities and legends surrounding the iconic James Dean film Rebel Without a Cause, opened at L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art on Saturday night.
Franco described the exhibition as a "collage of mediums, approaches, and different kinds of introspections." But it's no fan-boy project for the multitasking star. "It was more about finding a piece that could inspire many different kinds of exploration and projects," Franco said. "Within the movie itself, there are so many interesting dynamics and portrayals and all the legends and iconography. It can inspire a show with many different facets."
Lily Donaldson, Val Kilmer, Gia Coppola, and André Balazs wandered through the JF Chen contemporary space, designed so that each piece was rendered in its very own bungalow. The Chateau Marmont's Bungalow 2 plays a central theme to the Rebel Without a Cause story. MOCA's Jeffrey Deitch was pleased with the "fresh remix" of the 1955 film. "It's one of our great Hollywood myths and it's part of our shared culture. It was the perfect subject matter because everyone has seen the film."
For Aaron Young, who created a digital short, Life's a Drag, as well as an elaborate re-creation of a motorbike submerged in a pool for the project, the intriguing backstories and large legends of the film—and Los Angeles—continue to linger. "It's not really about the movie, it's about the people's lives. It's what that iconic film did to their lives and how it shaped them."
Rebel (presented by Gucci) is open through June 23 at JF Chen, 941 North Highland Ave., Hollywood.