James Franco has said that his stint on General Hospital as "bad boy" artist Franco is part of a larger art project, and he’s working on making good on that promise. Though his story arc ends later this month, Franco tells us that this spring he'll participate in a gallery show at New York’s Deitch Projects that will be shot for a subsequent "special episode" of GH. (This episode will be co-directed by Franco himself.) The Deitch exhibition will relate "to what I've already shot on GH," Franco says. (A spokesperson for the gallery says plans for the exhibition and filming are not yet finalized.)
Of course, Franco has been worming his way into the art world for some months now: teaming up with the video artist Carter for the art film Erased James Franco; schmoozing the booths at Art Basel Miami Beach; presenting at the Guggenheim's Art Awards; and buddying up to the new head of P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (and MoMA chief curator at large), Klaus Biesenbach.
Franco alluded to this addendum to his GH guest stint in a Wall Street Journal editorial published in early December. "After all of the Franco episodes are aired, my character's storyline will be advanced in a special episode filmed in a 'legitimate' New York gallery," Franco wrote. "One more layer will be added to this already layer-heavy experiment. If all goes according to plan, it will definitely be weird. But is it art?"
Either way, count on even more weird, winking art from him in the future. Franco is also aiming to collaborate with the video and performance artist Kalup Linzy, known for his cross-dressing soap-opera spoofs. Franco, a longtime fan, recently attended a lecture Linzy gave at Columbia, where Franco is a student in the graduate writing program. Linzy presented a short that featured Leo Fitzpatrick, the actor best known for his work in Kids, and Franco was impressed. "I wrote [Fitzpatrick] after, and he said 'That's my favorite thing that I've ever done.' So when I saw Kalup in Miami, I told him, 'I'll do anything with you,'" Franco says. "He wants to try to put together a feature, strangely enough, about a soap opera within a soap opera."
But don't pigeonhole him with the whole tongue-in-cheek soap-opera thing. "I make it sound like I only like performance art," he says, "and that is not true at all." So perhaps this is all just paving the way for James Franco's series of fruit-bowl still lifes?