Thursday, April 01, 2010

Franco to represent US at Venice Biennale 2011

You knew it was coming.

Today, the U.S. Department of State today named James Franco to represent the United States in the 2011 Venice Biennale. From the press release:

The Museum of Modern Art is pleased to announce the selection of James Franco (b. 1978, Palo Alto, CA) as the artist to represent the United States at the 2011 Venice Biennale. The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs selected Franco following a split and reportedly contentious recommendation of the Federal Advisory Committee on International Exhibitions (FACIE) that reviewed proposals received through an open competition.

Franco is regarded as one of the most innovative actors, film directors, screenwriters, film producers, and painters of his generation, often cited as a catalyst for the recent shift in much international artistic practice toward conceptual and performative uses of language and the body. In work encompassing film, theater, video, installation, body sculpture, nudity, and make-up, Franco continually engages mundane situations and inter-personal communication only to subvert them through paradoxical visual and linguistic manipulation. The exhibition will explore recurrent themes that figure in Franco’s oeuvre across the many mediums he employs and will represent the United States in the American Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale.

Whispers in Chelsea suggest Franco is going to clear out most of the pavilion (leaving one smaller gallery for an installation of his paintings) and simply improvise an ongoing performance with viewers as they attempt to pose with him to have their photos snapped in the white cube. This would seem to follow in the vein of his recent explanation of his art in the Wall Street Journal :
Performance art can seem pretentious, but it can also be quite mischievous and playful. Just as Marcel Duchamp rocked the art establishment in 1917 with his found urinal called "Fountain," performance artists of the 1960s and 1970s presented entire practices and occupations as art. In today's version, the artist Fritz Haeg packages lawn care as art—his ongoing series "Edible Estates" consists of designing and implementing ecologically productive front lawns. As Mr. Haeg said at a talk at Columbia University last month, "Being an artist is the one profession where you can wake up and say, 'What do I want to learn about and participate in today?' " What could be more fun than that?
What indeed?

Labels: biennials


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You sonovabitch!

4/01/2010 08:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent choice. His work in Spider Man was riveting. And those cheek bones are to die for. I'm certain he has a bright future in the art world. As Louise Bourgeois once said, the real key to being successful in the art world is to be good looking. Move over Matthew Barney, there's a new boy toy in town!

4/01/2010 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger HMNA said...

well played, well played.

4/01/2010 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Pam Farrell said...


4/01/2010 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger ryan said...

good one!

4/01/2010 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger markcreegan said...

good one! But in all seriousness, to me there is an endearing quality to how Franco talks about art and sees his profession in an artistic sense. Its almost like someone who just caught the bug and tries to read as much as possible and catch all the talks by folks like "Mr Haeg"- very cute.

4/01/2010 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger tony said...

In England April 1st. is a day when practical jokes are played; here in France the same antics take place under the name of 'Poisson d'Avril'. Is there the same tradition in the US ?

4/01/2010 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

What? Not Tom Ford? Is there no justice?

In related news, Richard Prince will direct the remake of Goldfinger. Urs Fischer will play 007, Dakis Joannou will play the eponymous Auric Goldfinger, and Jeff Koons will play Pussy Galore. Reportedly, Richard Flood will reprise his role as Mini Me.

4/01/2010 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Lee Gainer said...

This made me put down my bitter cocoa. Alas April 1st! *shakes fist* Well played indeed!

4/01/2010 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger JAMIE said...

HAha. first thought "what the dictator??", dang "Franco" now = "James Franco" crazy

4/01/2010 12:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Bernard Klevickas said...

Mini Me- HAAAA!
oh, that is good!
It just kept building.
Thanks Joanne

4/01/2010 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

I was so busy crafting my risposte that I neglected to acknowledge Ed's fabulous concept. Thanks, Ed! T'was brill.

4/01/2010 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Christopher/Mark said...

Joanne I'd prefer Louise Bourgeois to Jeff Koons in that role.

4/01/2010 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel said...

you totally had me.

4/01/2010 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Found this on FB from the SVA blog: Jeffrey Deitch to curate "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" for his first show.

4/01/2010 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger cralbert said...

Gaahh, I'm so gullible.

4/01/2010 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger Generazzo said...

There are so many more artists who deserve the Biennale than Franco. Eric Fischl, for one, who recently had an excellent exhibit of his bullfighters in Chelsea. MOMA is just pandering to the young to induce more visibility, excitement, and crowds at the biennale. Because of this I'm considering canceling my membership.

4/02/2010 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger Pam Farrell said...

oh. april fool's. duh.
i've been gotten.
good one.

4/02/2010 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

ah woke me up. i too believed it for a second. too funny

4/03/2010 12:40:00 AM  

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