Monday, April 15, 2024

James Franco: Oscar Co-Host Curates Gus van Sant Art Show in Beverly Hills


There’s a gigantic billboard that’s gone up on Sunset Boulevard towering over the Chateau Marmont. It’s for a James Franco art exhibit that opens officially on Saturday at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills. Yes, the same James Franco who’s co-hosting the Academy Awards on Sunday and is taking classes at Yale and the Rhode Island School of Design. And who’s nominated for an Oscar for “127  Hours.”

Franco’s art exhibit is called “Unfinished” and is a collaboration with his “Milk” director, Gus van Sant. (“Milk” producer Bruce Cohen, who’s co-producing the Oscars, convinced Franco to do the show also.) There’s no description of the show yet, and the whole thing is a mystery beyond the sole photograph of the back of actor River Phoenix’s head, wearing sunglasses, taken by van Sant during the making of “My Own Private Idaho.”

All of the “unfinished” is actually paintings by van Sant and still photography from “Idaho,” a movie that Franco is obsessed with. He told me this afternoon, on a break from classes, that he and van Sant went back and watched all the dailies from “Idaho.” Gucci put up the money, van Sant got a deal, and now all the unused material from “Idaho” is digitized and assembled. van Sant even gave Franco a copy.

The show will be unveiled on Thursday night at the Gagosian Gallery, followed by a usual suspects dinner at Mr. Chow’s. On Friday night, there’s some more unveiling of some kind, followed by a sneak party at Franco’s new watering hole, The Writer’s Room, which apparently is right now under construction in Hollywood.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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