Franco's art debut at Venice Biennale shelved

Rob Sharp,Arts Correspondent
Tuesday 31 May 2011 00:00
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James Franco's metamorphosis into a modern-day Renaissance man has been unstoppable. An actor with a gamut of Hollywood films to his name, he has written a novel, returned to college, and managed to fit in charity work. Now, it seems, time pressure has finally got the better of him.

Franco's much-trumpeted debut at the Venice Biennale, the highest-profile fixture in the art world calendar which opens to the public this week, has been indefinitely delayed. Franco was due to exhibit Rebel, a site-specific installation featuring videos paying homage to James Dean, at a venue in Venice, as part of a collaboration between Franco and celebrated artists including Ed Ruscha, Paul McCarthy and Aaron Young. However, according to a spokesman for Franco's official partner organisation, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the project will not be launched as planned on Thursday.

"James Franco has decided to postpone the opening of Rebel to a later date during the exhibition, so that his vision for the project can be fully realised," said the spokesman.

While the Biennale runs until the end of November, giving Franco almost another five months "to realise his vision," the spokesman confirmed that no new launch date had been pencilled in.

Employees of other galleries involved in the project, who did not want to be named, were under the impression Franco would not be travelling to Venice at all. Instead he would be working to "incorporate a more complex completion and installation process" at a different venue at a later date. The project was advertised on the Biennale's official website until yesterday. The work was set to be a homage to the 1955 James Dean film Rebel Without a Cause.

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