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Think of the most overexposed figures in creative culture. I’ll give you a few hints: One stared at people for months straight in a major museum, had an opera made about her life, and is creating a museum-like institution devoted to her chosen medium. The other has turned his life into performance art, dabbled as a sculptor, and written a vanity short story collection, alongside a stint working on a soap opera.

Have you guessed yet? It’s Marina Abramović and James Franco! And now, one is making a movie about the other. But it’s probably not in the order you think. Abramović is shooting a movie about the illustrious life of Franco. The performance art doyenne told Elle that she thinks Hollywood’s faux bad boy and the art world’s eternal mosquito is “the most interesting actor of the moment.”

Sure, Franco is doing a lot, and that’s cool. But when you’re falling asleep in graduate school, writing inane poetry, and tossing off weird acting stunts, maybe it’s time to cut back on your to-do list. At least Abramović acknowledges that Franco’s cross-genre experiments haven’t all been great — “he’s crossing all kinds of borders and not always with great success,” she said.

There’s no word yet as to whether or not Abramovic is actually starring in the new bio-pic, but that’s something that might actually make us go and see the movie.

Kyle Chayka

Kyle Chayka was senior editor at Hyperallergic. He is a cultural critic based in Brooklyn and has contributed to publications including ARTINFO, ARTnews, Modern Painters, LA Weekly, Kill Screen, Creators Project,...

5 replies on “Two Overexposed Cultural Figures Get Just a Little More Overexposed”

  1. The nighttime allure of prestige causes people to do foolish things in the public eye. I wouldn’t take it away from James Franco though to be testing different creative niches.

    Marina Abramovic though is totally reneging on her initial ideas about performance art by reenacting scenarios that nearly all of us knows.

    I actually glimpsed through Franco’s book but put it back on a shelf quickly thereafter. It made me very uneasy to see Franco’s name and picture identifying him as the author which may tell of Franco climbing some mountain of prestige which seems to get muddier approaching the zenith.

    Here is a short video of the Renaissance man himself announcing the start of a Nascar race. How the hell did he land that gig?

    1. From Nascar to Interior Leather Bar, Franco does cover a lot of ground, though it seems to be leaning toward Kink.

  2. I spoke to someone about this the other day, the “performance artist” that James Franco is portraying is something I view as an inside joke that I just can’t get into. However, I do have one theory, that he is rather and ongoing performance albeit a terrible one, but in that it’s ridiculous people will talk about it and keep “feeding the troll” so to speak.

    The only way to make James Franco go away is to stop talking about James Franco

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