James Franco should leave the world of art alone. Full stop. In the interview published by Art Review and done by artist Nigel Cooke, a series of issues come to the fore revealing a profound professional insecurity and endless narcissism. His show at Pace London was a large installation that evoked the set of Hitchcock Psycho through the arrangement of a series of objects in the range that went from grafitti to painting.

That shower curtain had Franco’s face acting as the woman in Psycho and the bathtub and walls are stained with red paint that, I assume, are supposed to be blood.

From the very beginning of the interview, Franco states very clearly that his art problematises the relationship between identity and role playing. However, when trying to explain that point, he ends up talking about power and control. According to his own words, the idea for the Pace installation came from the realisation that he had not real control over the filmic product (in Hollywood) while artists (painters, for example) do. So he wanted to inhabit that inbetween space as art in order not to (sic) ‘rebel against the lack of control either getting into drugs or getting political’.


At this point, one starts wondering what this man really want from life and the answer seems to be control. This was made obvious when a smart Nigel Cooke pointed out that the few paintings included in Franco’s Pace film set-like installation function like props and not as paintings in their own right. Without saying, Cooke made it evident that nothing in that show sustains itself in its own right.

Franco is stupid but not that stupid and sensed at that point that something was not going well so he said: ‘I set up the pieces and architecture of the show as a collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock, with Fatty Arbuclke and with the collective perception of the work and legends of these men. I know that the collaborations were actively fuelled from my side’. Actively fuelled? Does he mean, he just stamped his ‘signature’ on them? What did he do exactly? In other words, he claims everything but delivers nothing and when asked to stand somewhere he claims that he does not want to. In two words: a child. Just at thought.