James Franco’s Terrible Nude Paintings of Seth Rogen Get Gallery Show

James Franco's new nude portraits of Seth Rogen.
James Franco's new nude portraits of Seth Rogen.

Undeterred by critical response to James Franco‘s current Cindy Sherman-inspired outing at Pace (check out the scathing review from artnet News‘s Benjamin Sutton), the gallery is on board for another show, this one to feature Franco’s portraits of pal and fellow actor Seth Rogen in the nude, reports the Huffington Post.

The work is based on a somewhat disturbing (if facilely-drawn) 32-page book of fan art self-published by Christopher Schulz in 2011. Franco has rendered the black-and-white graphite illustrations in what appears to be clumsily applied acrylic paint, all the while adding sexually provocative phrases such as “Seth Wants It” and “Sleepy Bear.”

A spread from <em>Seth</em>, a 2011 book of graphite drawings by Christopher Schulz. James Franco has based his most recent art on the book.

A spread from Seth, a 2011 book of graphite drawings by Christopher Schulz. James Franco has based his most recent art on the book.

This isn’t Rogen and Franco’s first homoerotic collaboration. The duo played the roles of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West in a parody of the “Bound 2” video. (Jerry Saltz thought the original belonged in the Whitney Biennial.) Supposedly, West enjoyed their take on the video so much he wants it performed at his upcoming wedding to Kardashian, though Franco told ABC that he’s demurred.

By comparison, the new paintings haven’t received a particularly warm reception on the Internet. While Huff Post latched onto the paintings’ captions, condemning Franco for “continuing to engage in what some view as blatant homophobia, because comedy,” Dlisted has dubbed him a “douchier Shia LaDouche.” Over at the A.V. Club, they’re calling the paintings plagiarism.

The last thing Franco needs is another lawsuit: Courthouse News and Courthouse New Entertainment Law Digest have reported two cases against the actor in recent weeks.

No word yet on the dates for Franco’s next gallery exhibition, but according to his Twitter account, he will also show the Rogen paintings at Los Angeles’s OHWOW gallery.

UPDATE: According to representatives at Pace, Franco is not having a new show at the gallery, contrary to his Twitter announcement.


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