Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture

Tag: James Franco

Los Angeles Reflections

Alex Israel and Brett Easton Ellis, Gagosian, Beverly Hills

Catherine Opie, MOCA Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles

“West Hollywood”, AA|LA, Los Angeles

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Alex Israel and Bret Easton Ellis: Different Kind of Star, 2016, acrylic and UV ink on canvas, 7 by 14 feet; at Gagosian Beverly Hills. © Alex Israel and Bret Easton Ellis; image courtesy iStock and Gagosian Gallery. Photography: Jeff McLane.

Type “Los Angeles” into the search box of iStockphoto.com and you will see over seventy thousand images, many of which look very much the same. For the works in a recent exhibition at Gagosian in Beverly Hills, Alex Israel spent what must have been many grueling hours scouring the database, finally selecting a group of images that distill the clichés underwriting the romantic fantasy that—for some—is Los Angeles. He then UV-printed the photos on large panoramic canvases, with words by Bret Easton Ellis, his collaborator for the show, displayed across them. Read the rest of this entry »

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Paul McCarthy

The Box, Los Angeles

The doubling begins immediately. An exhibition across town, organized by MOCA and James Franco, called “Rebel,” themed (incredibly) around Franco’s resemblance to James Dean, finds its evil twin in “Rebel Dabble Babble.” It began with Franco inviting Paul McCarthy to collaborate on a project based on Rebel Without a Cause (1955), and ended up with McCarthy and his son Damon creating house-sized sets in their studio, staging auditions, filming, and performing in scenes with actors (who played hybrids of cinematic characters and the actors who originally played them) and, ultimately, shooting scenes for a pornographic version of Rebel Without a Cause featuring an actor named James Deen, who, like Franco, is a dead ringer for its original tragic star. A watered-down version of the project remains in MOCA’s exhibition, but at The Box it unfurls into full exhaustive glory. Read the rest of this entry »