What happened this week? Well James Franco graced Berlin with his presence, and we saw quite a bit of work that was “haha” funny...so where does it fall on our Miss/Diss scale?
Dream Factory @ Import Projects
video screening dealing with the relationship between labor and consumption curated by Aily Nash and Andrew Norman Wilson
-5 for very limited seating…when you have almost 200 people attending the event on Facebook, you should be better prepared. I unfortunately could only stick it out for the first half of the program because I couldn’t stand and watch videos for so long.
+3 for Guy Ben-Ner’s Stealing Beauty…Important family lessons about private property learned using the Ikea showroom as a set (during store hours).
+5 for Pilvi Takala’s The Trainee…The artist documented her time sitting in an office doing “brain work” and riding the elevator all day causing the workers in the building to become hilariously suspicious and uncomfortable with her presence.
+3 for Harun Faroki’s A New Product…Giving art people more occasions to mock the people of corporate culture.
James Franco @ Peres Projects
press preview of Gay Town
Who is going to see Spring Breakers with me?
-2 for pushy camera people desperately trailing James’ every move…
-3 for James’ lack of eye contact with the audience during his talk…Is he shy or is he acting?
-1 for the question during the Q&A “Do you smoke weed?”…There are better questions to be asked. In case you are wondering, he says he doesn’t.
+1 for the woman fixing Franco’s hair before the cameras started rolling…
+25 for being pleasantly surprised by Franco’s work and his ability to talk about it!…Usually I am very apprehensive about people who work professionally in other fields waking up one day and deciding to make artwork because “it can’t be that hard” (usually architects, sigh). So especially the idea of an actor making art is the kind of thing that makes me cover my eyes with my hands but still peek through my fingers. But it looks like some of his coursework (UCLA, Yale, NYU, Columbia, RISD…to name a few) paid off! We liked the work! He referenced Cindy Sherman, Douglas Gordon, Paul McCarthy as his favorite artists since they look to film for their inspiration. He has the advantage of being within the film world, giving him the unique ability to look at it from the inside and the outside. He has clearly thought a lot about medium specificity and finding the right form to express his ideas. In the exhibit he explores the idea of a self-portrait by means of recontextualizing his public persona (influenced by his movie roles and media representation). It’s work that only James Franco could make, and we’re glad he did! It’s colorful, it’s funny, and there’s a lot to look at.
Also, in case you didn’t already know, Macaulay Culkin is making artwork too (it’s not as good)…and I’m sure everyone’s seen George Bush’s paintings too…
+3 for the blankets…It seems like blanket art is a thing now, and I like it.
+5 for Franco also being a teacher…He said he gives money to his students to help them realize projects that they otherwise couldn’t. What a guy.
Steve McQueen @ xavierlaboulbenne
opening of Rayners Lane
+3 for the opening having the eerie atmosphere of the most silent house party ever…The gallery is in a flat hidden away on Schönleinstr., and it was completely dark inside except for the light from the projection and the too bright lights in the teeny kitchen that people stuffed themselves into. Arriving at the opening by myself, it felt strange standing in a dark room alone and not being able to see anyone. Anonymity can be refreshing.
+8 for the work itself…Yeah, it’s a looped 11 minute projection of a brick wall and it’s a shame Michael Fassbender isn’t in it, but it is mesmerizing and beautiful nonetheless.
Karl Holmqvist @ Galerie Neu
opening of EQ UI LI BR IU M
there he is!
+6 for the video A is for A=R=A=K=A=W=A…It is very funny especially when a bit giddy after a few beers. Clever cultural references, some highlights include “Fitness First…Then What?” and “Coffee Fee Fee Fee Fee Fee Fee Fee Fee…” Go see it!
+2 for some great winter outfits…Sorry I couldn’t take pictures because the space was so small and crowded; I couldn’t pull it off without being too obvious.