My favorite Franco art project, the one that best combines all of his interests (high/low, gay/straight, earnest/ironic) is his work on General Hospital. It started as a joke between Franco and his artist friend Carter, who were discussing a movie in which Franco would play a former soap star. It occurred to them that it would be funny if Franco actually showed up, sometime, on a real soap opera. This fit nicely into a constellation of ideas Franco had already been thinking about: the difference between high art and mass art, the space between performance and real life, the vagaries of taste. So Franco called General Hospital, one of TV’s most popular and longest-running soap operas. The result is a small, double-edged pop-culture masterpiece—a black hole of publicity in which everything works both within the frame of the show and as a commentary on Franco’s career.
Franco’s General Hospital character is a transparent soap-world portrait of Franco himself: a dashing multimedia artist (graffiti, photography, performance art) named “Franco” who sweeps into town and fascinates, angers, seduces, and generally confuses everyone around him. Like Franco, “Franco” is obsessed with art that crosses over into reality: He re-creates, in galleries, actual crime scenes—until eventually the people of Port Charles come to suspect that he might be a murderer himself.
Sunday, August 01, 2010