In his June 2011 Juxtapoz feature, James Franco admits to being drawn to stories about teenagers, with “Everything being heightened in that world.” There is definitelya very heightened, almost tactile immersion upon entering the long awaited Rebel installation, presented by the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art at the JF Chen Gallery. Entering the dark space at Saturday opening night ushers one into a darkness that nevertheless glows with bright green hedges that signify the Chateaus Marmont where director Nicholas Ray stayed during the making of Rebel Without a Cause. Tangled green plants open into video vignettes where gender, sexual roles and mores and violence are examined.
Harmony Korine’s nude female gang members are identified by their stark yellow and red Addidas. In full drag James Franco confronts Terry Richardson’s camera. Galen Pherson’s El Gato kitties won’t be seen on Saturday morning cartoons. Aaron Young’s vertical car collision thrills with the fascination of cars, speed and death – reminiscent of the early fate of James Dean, Natalie Wood and and Sal Mineo, stars of Rebel Without a Cause. Interesting that the deceptive beauty of the lush greenery of the Chateau is reminiscent of the title of Dean’s last film, East of Eden. Cosmic apocalypse indeed. —Gwynned Vitello
All photos by Amy Duran.
MOCA presents Rebel, conceived by James Franco with Douglas Gordon, Harmony Korine, Damon McCarthy, Paul McCarthy, Terry Richardson, Ed Ruscha, and Aaron Young. Rebel will be on view from May 15 through June 23, 2012, at JF Chen, a newly emerging contemporary art and design space, located at 941 North Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038.