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James Franco’s First Solo Art Show Kicks Off at NY’s Clocktower Gallery

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A return to the questions and confusions of “Is it art because it’s artistic? Or is the output itself irrelevant, but the ‘art’ is born from it being made by a celebrity?” Our brains are frazzled with these sorts of thoughts as the actor-turned-artist James Franco pops back up in the art scene with the opening of his first solo show, “The Dangerous Book Four Boys.” It opened on Wednesday at the Clocktower Gallery, the P.S.1-affiliated space, with none other than P.S.1 alum (and founder/former director) Alanna Heiss curating the show. We’ve seen a handful of images of it so far, but it’s difficult to make heads or tails of it from just photographs. Fortunately, the Wall Street Journal, who Franco had cozied up to earlier this year by writing an op-ed for them about his forays into the art world, sent out Erica Orden, who files this report about the show. However, even after reading it, you’ll probably still feel like the water’s a bit murky (though you might also have that same trouble seeing the whole thing in person, too). But who said art ever needed to have instant gratification? Here’s Orden’s quick synopsis of the show:

“The Dangerous Book Four Boys” addresses boyhood and the “sexual confusion” of adolescence, as Ms. Heiss put it. Short films focus on demolition, showing burning or bullet-riddled structures like a plastic toy home or a large wooden rocket (the exhibition contains originals or replicas of these). Another work explores a romantic encounter between “Star Trek” characters Spock and James T. Kirk.

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