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A sneak peek of James Franco’s solo exhibition at the Clocktower Gallery in NYC

by Christine on June 23, 2010 · 83 comments

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Tonight, James Franco’s first solo art show opens at the Clocktower Gallery in New York City. In a recent review of the show, the Wall Street Journal called it a “sort of creative schizophrenia” and now that we’ve had a sneak peek we can understand why.

One of our readers, Denise, stopped by the gallery this afternoon and caught a preview of the show which includes a video of Franco wearing a prosthetic penis on his nose and another display with said prosthetic under glass.

Check out photos of Jame’s show after the jump!

The exhibit, entitled “The Dangerous Book Four Boys” incorporates sculpture, photography, drawing, film and video all of which centers on ideas of boyhood and the sexual awakening of the early teenage years.

The Clocktower Gallery, a nonprofit exhibition space, is located at 108 Leonard Street in Tribeca and is open daily from noon to 5 pm.

Check out photos of Jame’s work below and let us know what you think!

[nggallery id=133]


Denise sent us two more photos from the exhibit, here’s how she describes them:

It’s a short film (Star Trek Kirk/Spock gay hook up) and super low-budget. I’ve attached 2 stills from it. Kirk is the white mannequin (voiced by James Franco) and Spock is the black mannequin. From what I saw, it’s the two of them talking about how Spock’s sex organs are his fingers and then they hook up. After that, the ship gets shot at by men in monkey masks and suits.

[nggallery id=141]

[Thanks Denise!]

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{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

1 DTrent June 23, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Shock value & that’s all it is. The junk strewn about on the floor is nothing but a mess. The prosthetic displayed ANYWHERE is in hideous bad taste. I see NOTHING worth viewing here. I can’t believe this is called “ART”. If I handed in anything remotely like this in high school, I’d surely have gotten a failing mark & a strong lecture. James, this is not art. This is laziness.


2 Art July 29, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Most of the comments remind me of someone who upon hearing a language they don’t speak immediately proclaim it to be “gibberish”. Contemporary art is a language that few people speak and can’t be fully understood by viewing some snapshots of a show.


3 DTrent July 31, 2010 at 10:45 am

Then YOU try & explain the meaningless meaning of it all!


4 Nacho October 18, 2010 at 9:57 pm

LMAO at anyone who calls this art.

I just think it’s sad how there are so many people out in the world who ARE actually talented and who DESERVE gallery space, but assholes like this take up space just because he has connections. This dude needs to stick with what he does best: a supporting character in a second-rate film.


5 Holly August 21, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Totally agree with you there Nacho! And I’m much happier to agree with someone who names themself after delicious Mexican food, than someone who proclaims themself to be ‘Art’ – unless, of course, that is short for Artie.

However ‘Art’, as I’m sure you are an expert on the subject, pray, divulge your wisdom on the subject and help us lesser beings to understand the complex language of Contemporary Art!


6 BillZman June 23, 2010 at 11:40 pm

Trash, junk…shocking, and very disturbing. am shocked the gallery backed this.What was all that crap on the floor for? hes above this..why not share all his artwork> He would have legions of fans ready to prucvhase and he would have no bad reviews now he put junk out there..sad he is so above this


7 Stef June 24, 2010 at 3:04 am

I now know I can be an artist too,I will get started with my stick figures at once! Does he get high? He must


8 Rowan June 24, 2010 at 4:51 am

Hmm, as someone who went to art school and studied conceptual art, I’m probably biased as I’m not a fan of populist work…

So I like it, though I think it can be more refined, I think it actually sneaks a peak into a geeky, creative boy who is questioning his sexuality and his place in the world.

Not every guy who realised he was gay wanted to dress up as a girl…


9 Claire August 29, 2010 at 5:56 pm

I completely agree! I am entering my sophomore year at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, which is known for being a conceptual school. A few of my professors actually praised Franco for this exhibition. And that he actually applied at SAIC but then decided not to go. too bad. A little constructive crit could do him some good. But I agree 100% with what you’re saying.


10 Kristina June 24, 2010 at 9:21 am

How is this Art? It’s a bunch of junk lying around in a room with a bunch of crayon scribbles here and there. I guess I’m supposed to believe that every hoarder around the country is an “Artist” too, right?


11 Curtis June 24, 2010 at 11:58 am

yikes. Franco is a good actor, makes respectable and interesting role choices in the last couple years and very good looking. I admit he is a draw for me in regards film.

This exhibit is sadly a hot mess. Please someone stop letting people throw garbage in a corner and call it art. This is a clear example of celebrity and connections giving someone a gallery space when it is dubious in quality and artistic merit.


12 Abby June 24, 2010 at 2:23 pm

I mean, connections giving someone space without merit? Haha. Welcome to the entire entertainment/arts world. It’s 98% who you know. And 1% luck and 1% talent.


13 Emmy June 24, 2010 at 1:32 pm

He’s almost like his character “Franco” on General Hospital but without the dead bodies.


14 carmelo giargiari June 24, 2010 at 4:51 pm

beautiful photos


15 nya June 24, 2010 at 5:04 pm

I think James is great. He has expressed his inner turmoil and has shown great courage. He’s an inspiration.


16 Lady June 24, 2010 at 9:17 pm

I don’t like the work, but i thinks its ignorant to say “you call this art?”


17 Liz June 24, 2010 at 10:56 pm

If you watch an interview with the guy you’d understand the point of it. He says society exploits the sexual turmoil teens deal with, he’s exposing it. Bringing it all out. If you think its sick your not acknowledging yourself. He’s just being honest.

And he’s not just a celeb forcing his way into a less mainstream art. He grew up into art and has always made a point to say before he was an actor he was interested in painting. The man’s legit.
Sorry. Fan here.


18 suzi June 25, 2010 at 10:24 am

Wow..he has certainly found a purpose..he has created discussion..some like it..some hate it…..isn’t that the purpose of art? To create discussion…


19 Tharpa June 25, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Wow. Anyone saying “this is not art” has obviously not set foot inside a single gallery in all of New York in the past 2-3 years. This is everywhere, and it is big. So I actually think it’s a little bit uncreative of Mr. Franco to go in this direction, but I admire the work and his efforts anyway. We need more like this. Looking forward to seeing the show in person.


20 drini June 28, 2010 at 9:15 am

you guys haven’t even given it a chance. have you actually gone on the location to see it in full, or are you all whining about what you can get out of these 3 inch photos. come on…


21 matt June 28, 2010 at 1:18 pm

looks like he does not know art even if it crawled up his leg and bit him on his ass!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


22 nova June 28, 2010 at 4:23 pm

hhahaha this is so funny. i’m pretty sure he was stoned out of his mind and thought it would be funny to throw together an “art exhibition”. this can’t be real.


23 VEDS July 29, 2010 at 11:38 pm

Well, yeah he could have been -lol. But, anyway even a Shaman goes on a vision quest. Other artists have done their own vision questing.

I’m interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos, especially activity that appears to have no meaning. It seems to me to be the road toward freedom. – Jim Morrison


24 mick July 1, 2010 at 11:25 pm

I have absolutely no idea how this display is actual art. It doesn’t look as if much thought went into it and quite honestly if this is all it takes to be an artist, well, I can be an artist too. Every day I come home and pile some clothing on the floor…maybe that’s art. Maybe when I’m cleaning out my purse and crumble all the receipts that now have been accounted for in my checking account and the papers are on my desk, maybe that’s art…art that I never knew existed until seeing this exhibition and realizing that everything is a possible art exhibit. Hey good for him…he’s getting paid for this insanity!!!!!


25 jhohon October 31, 2010 at 5:37 am

there is no way to show how much thought goes into a piece of art that is ridiculous


26 carmelo/giargiari July 2, 2010 at 1:16 pm

art is in the eye of the beholder


27 Scott July 2, 2010 at 7:43 pm

O.K. I enjoy Franco as an actor… but this has got to be the best example of P.T. Barnumesque stupidity I have ever seen. Franco (and the gallery owner) have to be laughing their collective a$$es off all the way to the band. I KNOW several artists who are very well respected in the ‘Junk’ or ‘Recycled’ art genre and even they were laughing about this.
Hell, if THIS qualifies as ART then the floor of my 10 year-old sons closet is next!


28 carmelo giargiari July 3, 2010 at 12:11 pm



29 Garth Harrison July 15, 2010 at 1:31 am

My soul just cried a little… terrible! useless!
Franco’s agent needs to start looking for a new job.
However, Franco’s acting is first class.


30 carmelo giargiari July 15, 2010 at 11:09 am

more of this wonderful work


31 cheyenne July 23, 2010 at 3:38 am

I could argue “art” here all I want. But the bottom line here for me is that this is interesting to say the very least. Not everybody has to like it. What’s the point of “art” if someone doesn’t hate it? I’m a musician. But I dabble in visual arts. And music is the same way, seeing as it’s art as well. Now, you all can’t tell me that you absolutely love the works of people like Lady GaGa. Now I know I hate it. Doesn’t mean it’s not music. Doesn’t mean some creative thought never went into it. Isn’t that what art is? Creative thought. So why don’t we give him a break?


32 carmelo giargiari July 23, 2010 at 11:27 am

i am so glad that more people are seeing this work in a positive way.


33 Art July 28, 2010 at 11:10 pm

Most of the comments remind me of someone who upon hearing a language they don’t speak immediately proclaim it to be “gibberish”. Contemporary art is a language that few people speak and can’t be fully understood by viewing some snapshots of a show.


34 J-Ski July 29, 2010 at 1:43 am

Who are you people to judge whats art, and whats not? Art is expression, its whatever the artist is trying to express. And plus theres a concept behind all of this, its not just some meaningless shit put together. You people saying this isn’t art are all ignorant morons you don’t even deserve to critique art, especially if you don’t know what art is.

I respect James Franco as an actor, an artist, and most importantly as a person.


35 carmelo giargiari July 29, 2010 at 11:16 am

this man is amazing


36 carmelo giargiari July 29, 2010 at 11:26 am

i can not get enough of this artist


37 VEDS July 29, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Note: I have not seen the exhibit.

But, seeing the imagines online of the exhibit it does provoke an emotion. Art at some level should provoke some form of emotion and art is in the eye of the beholder .
Yes, it is intentionally disarray. I found the images disturbing but, not in a prudent way. Maybe it’s my Psych/Soc background coming out…. and I am reading further into the exhibit or maybe I am right on target. I would have to see the exhibit live in order to make my own personal judgment. I do agree with another person comment on here; ” it did take courage to show his inner turmoil”.


38 carmelo giargiari July 29, 2010 at 1:13 pm

i did have a sexual awakening by viewing the exhibit


39 carmelo giargiari July 30, 2010 at 12:14 pm



40 carmelo giargiari July 30, 2010 at 12:21 pm



41 phèdre August 3, 2010 at 11:08 am

Personnelement,ça me choc pas dans la ville ou je vit ils y a tous un tant d’expos de type, et meme des bars. C’est décaler de ce que on peux voir d’habitude!!


42 Liz August 4, 2010 at 2:29 pm

aahaha I under the suspicion that Carmelo Giargiari is in some way connected to J Franc…


43 VEDS August 6, 2010 at 5:17 pm

I have the same feeling 2 Liz……8) Nice PR!


44 Ray August 17, 2010 at 10:25 pm

You’d never guess that the exuberantly smiling James Franco we all know could host such disturbing and tragic emotions. It is a mangy mash-up of homerotic rubbish, but there is definitely a message being conveyed. I think this art exhibition could possibly be the most peculiar yet creative coming-out event in history.


45 dude August 22, 2010 at 11:39 pm

Here’s the website for the gallery:



46 Alex August 29, 2010 at 7:37 pm

love it


47 Hello October 26, 2010 at 2:20 pm

He is a pure, unadulterated genius! This site proves it:



48 Karin December 3, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Don’t be jealous. Go out and do some great art yourselves. All creative endeavors are good for you, and it might just turn you into a happier more positive person. Try it. <3


49 Marielle Eaton January 26, 2011 at 5:33 pm

I just think that the idea of art has rapidly gone down hill. What “contemporary” art is is nothing even close to what art is suppose to be. It’s suppose to be a talent, a vision, a tangible something-or-another. Contemporary “pieces” such as these should be called “installations” and nothing else at all. It really just needs to be it’s own thing. Perhaps instead of art call it “self expression” or something.
James Franco is having a Self Expression showing. Ah, that sounds much better. I really like James, I think he seems nice and very talented in other ways, but he just isn’t someone who should be called an Artist, unless it’s somebody saying as an ACTOR he’s an artist.
This is not art, it’s disturbing trash thrown around.


50 Holly August 21, 2011 at 8:00 pm

I’ve been thinking along the same lines for a while now, Marielle. I cannot believe the way that *cough* Self Expressionists (I really think that could take off you know!) have taken what Marcel Duchamp did nearly 100 years ago now and have just played it out again and again until it’s so far away from being original, that it’s positively nauseating. I cannot believe that I’m a student being taught by a 40-something-year-old man, who couldn’t paint a fence; let alone a canvas, but claims to be able to teach me because he occasionally screws up a paper ball, gives it a pretentious title and then a long-winded explanation about how it comments on society .. religion .. war .. famine, etc. A Self Expressionist if ever I met one!


51 CARMELO GIARGIARI January 26, 2011 at 5:41 pm



52 Stephen March 2, 2011 at 11:53 am

Who knows what to think of James Franco’s art….sersiously! That is, the fine art of painting, drawing, scultpture and photography. Art that is intersting makes one wander and at its best (commonly known as ‘Great Art’) places one in awe, of the human condition. I can’t say that Mr. Francos does either. He should probably go back to school and develop his thoughts. Now that is not to say that he dosn’t have talent. Undoubtedly, he has talent as anyone who can arrieve to the level of success that he is currently enjoying is due to some level of talent…certainly as an actor, and he was really good in ‘127 hours’. But the images above, and Larry Gagosians interest??? all very questionable…in terms of art that is.


53 chris March 4, 2011 at 8:36 am

It’s craptacular! Derivative, self-indulgent, and without any sense of craft. He’s clearly a dabbler, without any intellectual force behind his offerings. Maybe spreading oneself so thinly doesn’t always result in the best work.


54 J C August 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Art should have no boundaries. It’s an expression of one’s own interpretation of the world around us.


55 Monica August 30, 2011 at 7:26 am

Here is a great article of when J. Franco showed this exhibition in Berlin at Peres Projects: http://www.berlinartlink.com/2011/02/18/why-james-franco-is-a-feminist/


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