James Franco has been involved in a flurry of offbeat projects, beginning with his starring turn on General Hospital, not to mention his unlikely partnership with performance-art chanteuse Kalup Linzy. Did we mention there’s an Oscar nom? It should be annoying, but who can hold a grudge against a face like that?
Now the actor, intellectual, and conceptual hunk makes his European exhibition debut with an epic show at Peres Projects Berlin, so vast that it required both spaces. Titled Dangerous Book Four Boys, the sprawling installation mines some familiar terrain for Franco, while delving into some intriguing childhood neuroses, as well as getting in some witty winks at his own fame. In lesser hands, the installation, which includes video, photographs, and some melty-looking assemblages, might have come across as adolescent sulking or ego indulgence (well, it does a little), but the most annoying part is that it’s actually pretty good, drawing heavily from the language of Mike Kelley to unravel one Franco myth, only to perpetuate another. Our interest is definitely piqued, and we must admit we’re tempted to tune in for that Oscar telecast, which might be his best performance-art piece to date.