Siegfried Contemporary is pleased to announce its first exhibition in Switzerland featuring new paintings by the American artist and actor James Franco.
The exhibition entitled “KooKoo” is comprised of 13 new paintings of birds. As Franco points out, "Birds are mystical creatures that inhabit our world and just as easily fly away. They're like fairies on the periphery of civilized life." Here birds of all sorts and sizes cover the exhibition space, from floor to ceiling, creating a kind of ‘cuckoo’ (mad) atmosphere. This new body of work is a continuation of the ‘Fat animal’ and bird paintings that were shown at Siegfried Contemporary in London in November 2014.
“KooKoo” is inspired by its charming setting: a small chalet in the mountains that bears a strong resemblance to a cuckoo clock. As intended, the bird paintings complement the quaint architecture of Swiss chalets. The title of the exhibition can also be seen as a comment on Franco's multi-faceted film personas as well as his own real life character which is often provocative and deranged while at the same time enchanting and witty.
Franco’s paintings have a naive quality, stressing the importance of childhood and coming of age as a formative period in our lives. His paintings are humorous, they are his way of responding to the everyday life experiences he encounters as an acclaimed actor.
JAMES FRANCO has participated in the arts since he was very young. He dedicated himself to figure drawing classes as a teenager and pursued painting as well. While his acting career took off, he continued to study and participate in the art world. During this time, James’ paintings were shown at LACY GALLERY and GLU GALLERY in Los Angeles. He combined his acting experience and his love of art in Carter’s Erased James Franco, which was shown internationally, but most notably at the TATE MODERN in London and MoMA in New York.
James’ show Dangerous Book Four Boys appeared in solo exhibitions at THE CLOCKTOWER GALLERY in New York City and PERES PROJECTS GALLERY in Berlin. In 2011, James and Gus Van Sant came together to do a show entitled Unfinished at the GAGOSIAN GALLERY in Los Angeles. The show was focused around and inspired by River Phoenix and Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho. In the Summer of 2011, James opened two separate shows in New York at MoMA PS1 and THE ASIAN SONG SOCIETY. In September 2011, James was offered the great honor of having exhibition space at THE VENICE BIENNALE for his project, Rebel. James participated in PERFORMA 2011 collaborating on the piece Three Performances in Search of Tennessee with Laurel Nakadate. In February 2012, James also showed Memories of Idaho at LINCOLN CENTER.
In February 2013, James had a solo show, titled Gay Town, at PERES PROJECTS GALLERY in Berlin. His next solo show, Psycho Nacirema, curated by Douglas Gordon, opened at PACE GALLERY in London on June 5th, 2013. He exhibited his series of photographs, New Film Stills, at PACE GALLERY in New York in Spring 2014 and at GALERIE CINEMA as a part of Paris’ Mois de la Photo 2014. Additionally, he had a show a SIEGFRIED CONTEMPORARY in London in Fall 2014. In 2015, James participated in a group show titled Cerebral Vortex at MAMA Gallery in Los Angeles as well as two shows, A California Childhood and Bromance, with his brother Tom Franco.
James holds an MFA from the Tisch School of the Arts in DIRECTING at NEW YORK UNIVERSITY. He received his MFA in DIGTIAL MEDIA from the RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN in the Spring of 2012.
Franco is internationally well known as an actor and played in countless films, such as: 127 hours, “Spiderman 1,2 and 3”, “Milk”, “Pineapple Express” to name a few.