Saturday, April 13, 2024

Shia LaBeouf On James Franco: “His output is admirable but his work has little meaning to me”


Shia LaBeouf, troubled soul, good actor, philosopher, has given Art News an interesting interview about his work and ideas. ArtNews interviewed him with “collaborators” Nastja Säde Rönkkö, and Luke Turner. They answered by email, and Art News printed the responses verbatim. LaBeouf’s were typed out as shown below.

You’d think LaBeouf would feel closely aligned to James Franco, who also considers himself an artist and philosopher. Alas, Shia says of Franco: “His output is admirable but his work has little meaning to me.”

Here’s exactly what Shia wrote to ArtNet on the subject of Franco, exactly as it appears:

another word for “Hollywood actor” is “abstraction”
which is a way of making our work an “idea” or “suggestion”
rather than something of substance
proposing this question is the way the art world perpetuates the divide
you’re either a part of the refined art world
or you’re a part of its perpetual enemy “mass-culture”
but there is a realizable middle ground
our work is not bound by either the production rules of the mainstream industry
or the rules of the presentational logic maintained by the Art system
and I don’t see myself as an abstraction or –
“another hollywood actor with a penchant for contemporary art”
I think this is a way of assigning our work and others a lighter anatomic weight
and surmising that our sensibilities
could never accommodate your refined cultural outlook

(hollywood actor/ celebrity/ star/ famous person/ personality/ crazy man)
are all seen as un-virtuous titles by the art world
it’s a way to classify something as insufficient
& of alleviating the responsibility of having to
deal with the difficulty of the work)

Franco’s output is admirable
but his work has little meaning to me

I live and work as if there is meaning
though I know there isn’t
there is something incisive or instructive in living as if.

Shia was also asked if he worried that his art was becoming too kitsch. I like this answer so much.

art is about resonating with people
and with one’s soul
all good art is intimate to some degree

the way i see it we’re all lonely, all of us
not fitting in makes you lonely
makes you feel unloved
i think there is a very real relationship between loneliness & love
or sometimes we can’t recognize when we’re loved
i think the deal is you’re fully lonely
& the sooner we all embrace our loneliness
the healthier we are
it is about witnessing each other as individuals & saying:
“i’ll show you mine if you show me yours”
i think it’s our role in this practice to “show ours”
without demanding the “show yours” in return
our stuff is about un-aimed love
if it comes across as kitsch
or sentimental
that’s ok.

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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