James Franco: A Celebrity For The A.D.D. Age

by BILLY GRAY · June 21, 2010

    James Franco is going highbrow with his next side gig. He'll open his first solo art show Wednesday at Tribeca's Clocktower Gallery. Whether or not you appreciate the fruits of Franco's Renaissance Man labors, you must applaud his effort. But nose-in-the-air art critics are already wondering if the jack of all trades is a hack. -

    "The Dangerous Book Four Boys" is a hodgepodge of artsy mediums that reflects Franco's increasingly scattered career. Erica Orden of the Wall Street Journal notes it will include sculpture, drawing, photography, film and video.

    Do you think Franco brings the same eclecticism to his private life that he does to his work? Remember that Franco is the former teenybopper idol who became an action movie star (Spiderman) who segued to Important Film work (Milk) but also made time for stoner comedies (Pineapple Express), MFA studies (at not one, but two NYC universities--NYU and Columbia) and soap opera work. I'm sure I've left something out.

    Does Franco dump a dozen different cereal brands into a giant bowl for breakfast each morning? Pluck sexual partners at random from a sprawling basement harem? Wear boxers, briefs and boxer-briefs at once? What does he say when a Burger King cashier says he can have it his way? He could probably write a book on the existential crisis such a question would provoke. Or maybe set it to interpretive dance.

    Anyway, famously snobby art nerds are likely ready to tear into Franco. Applying your cute dilettante routine to a ghastly soap opera is one thing, Jimmy. Invading the sterile white boxes of the downtown gallery scene is quite another. At least one prominent curator is on his side. P.S. 1 founder and "Dangerous Book Four Boys" curator and "grand dame of New York's avant-garde art scene" Alana Heiss said Franco is "going to be a visionary artist for his generation."

    I don't disagree. But I wonder if Heiss is talking about the art Franco will be displaying in Tribeca or the curious way he has lately displayed himself.

    Photo via Amy Sussman/WSJ