MOCA Presents "Rebel" @ JF Chen, Los Angeles

April 29, 2012

Last July 2011, we did a cover story on Rebel, the experimental, multi-part art project fronted by James Franco including components by Harmony Korine, Aaron Young, Douglas Gordon, Paul McCarthy, and Ed Ruscha. After delays, MOCA will present Rebel this May 15, and OHWOW will publish the accompanying book.

Initially slated for the Venice Biennale last summer, Rebel will now be shown from May 15—June 23, 2012 at JF Chen. And, as we noted in our cover story, Rebel is an experimental project inspired by the classic film, Rebel Without A Cause.

From MOCA:

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.

Rebel is an interrogative ode to Nicholas Ray’s masterpiece Rebel Without A Cause (1955), conceived by Franco to embrace and mine the main themes and events in the original film. The exhibition reinterprets the film’s legends, the people involved, its place in Hollywood, film as a medium, and behind-the-scenes footage, in a new, fresh, and unconventional presentation of film, video installation, photography, painting, drawing, and sculpture, housed in and framed by iconic Hollywood structures.

And the book by OHWOW:

The 192-page book is a visual examination of moments in and out of frame, expanding the film?s narrative and documenting the fresh and unconventional films, videos, photography, painting, drawings, and sculpture presented in the exhibition. The book also includes film stills and photographs not included in the exhibition, and traces the participating artists? reinterpretation of the original film's legends, the people involved, its place in Hollywood, film as a medium, and behind-the-scenes footage.


An introductory essay by author and art theorist Francisco J. Ricardo, PhD., outlines the background to Rebel, explaining the impetus for Franco?s inquiry and his artistic motivations, from conception through execution. Ricardo states that, “The project was essentially about the conflation of truth and lore, romance and performance, and emotions in and out of frame that reflected three simultaneous realities: the world of adolescent development at that time, the film?s plot and script, and the private passions already in play among the cast and within themselves.”