The Times on Franco: 'A Confusing Mix of the Clueless and the Halfway Promising'

Today The TimesRoberta Smith reviews James Franco’s Clocktower Gallery art spectacle, “The Dangerous Book Four Boys.” The title, she notes, “is a slight skewing of The Dangerous Book for Boys.”

Despite Smith’s palpable irritation with the task at hand, she is not ungenerous:

Some people would probably feel better to read that Mr. Franco’s Clocktower effort can be dismissed as bad beyond redemption, an outsider’s naïve dalliance in things he doesn’t really understand. I initially inclined toward that conclusion, although in the end it turned out to be more interesting and complicated than that….

What made me slow down and start looking? Coming up against my own biases that art must be a full-time obsession, that early work means limiting constraints and that video art requires a sense of one-artist-one-camera intimacy.

Still, the show is a confusing mix of the clueless and the halfway promising.

Perhaps the review’s harshest words are reserved for a previous Franco project:

Mr. Franco’s recent appearances on the soap opera “General Hospital” as a handsome, enigmatic, platitude-spouting installation artist named Franco have earned him something of a cult following, although I can’t be alone in feeling that their irony is outdone by their lameness.