Clever Photos Make Fun Of Celebrity Selfies

tumblr_n6drf8d8ch1qz4fjco9_1280tumblr_n6drf8d8ch1qz4fjco8_1280tumblr_n6drf8d8ch1qz4fjco5_1280tumblr_n6drf8d8ch1qz4fjco3_1280

For “Phonies,” the UK photographer Dan Rubin turns celebrity selfies into works of fine art. In his unusual street photographs, the smartphone itself stands in for the face of passersby,  projecting the grins of social media-savvy stars like Kim Kardashian, James Franco, and Harry Styles. Rubin’s series is equal parts playful and scathing, capturing the narcissism of celebrity in the 21st century in such a way that highlights the anonymity of the digital age.

Within the medium of street photography, normally characterized by raw and gritty from-the-hip shots, Rubin replaces candid captures with shiny screens projecting perfectly made-up celebrity faces. In these clever doubles, these photographs of photographs, notions of identity are complicated. Our faces, especially in photographs, have the power to betray our innermost selves and to define our perceptions of that self; here, the subject’s visage is shown only to be a reflection of the media we consume. As we are continuously bombarded with social media, how do we shape our egos in relation to the rich and famous?

From images, we derive meaning. Flawlessly inserting the HTC One mini 2 phone into his compositions, the artist creates a hybrid human that is simultaneously a celebrity and just another face in the crowd. As we become more vain and the innocent selfie borders on arrogant self-indulgence, do we stifle our individuality? Here, the realm of social media is ambiguously seen, a powerful force that is both fun and disconcerting. Take a look.

Currently Trending

Advertise here !!!

James Franco’s Name Brand Celebrity Status Continues To Result In Gallery Shows

franco franco3 franco6

A couple of weeks ago, we posted James Franco’s self-portraiture imitating Cindy Sherman’s 1970s student project photographs in which she impersonates the roles of iconic women in film; these photographs are on view at PACE Gallery until May 3. A testament to the receptiveness of audiences to Franco’s work, this post performed quite well. Franco has now imitated another artist for work to be displayed at PACE, following the Cindy Sherman imitations, but this time, without (yet) giving proper credit.

In 2011, Christopher Schulz self-published a 32-page book of Seth Rogen fan art; Franco’s upcoming gallery show features nude paintings of Rogen, some that appear to be directly based on (read: copied from) Schulz’s portraits. ArtNet notes that this new work has not been very warmly received by the internet; Huffington Post condemns Franco for “continuing to engage in what some view as blatant homophobia, because comedy,” Dlisted calls Franco a “douchier Shia LaDouche,” and A.V. Club claims the paintings are plagiarism.

At this point, James Franco has delved into many different worlds: academia (once a graduate student in 4 programs at the same time), soap opera, television, and film acting, film-making, fiction and pseudo-academic writing, and performance art. I try not to be annoyed by people, especially artists of all stripes, but James Franco is one person I can barely tolerate at this point. Aside from playing the role of Alien in “Spring Breakers,” I can’t really get on board with anything he is pursuing (especially the “critical” essays he writes for Vice wherein he makes obvious arguments that lack depth). I don’t know what to think about him, and I’m beginning to feel jaded with his pursuits. No one seems to know if Franco takes himself seriously, or if anyone should. Some have even speculated that his recent, creepy propositioning of a minor was performance art, or a marketing ploy for his latest film.

In 2010, Sam Anderson, writing for New York Magazine, conducts a critical investigation into Franco’s life, exploring his Hollywood career as performance art and asking a few questions that are central and just as pertinent to our current experience of Franco in 2014:

(1) Can James Franco possibly be for real?

(2) If he is, then—just logistically—how is all this possible?

(3) And perhaps the biggest mystery of all: Why is Franco doing it? Are his motives honest or dishonest? Neurotic or healthy? Arrogant or humble? Ironic or sincere? Naïve or sophisticated? Should we reward him with our attention or punish him with our contempt? Is he genuinely trying to improve himself or is he just messing with us—using celebrity itself as the raw material for some kind of public prank?

Currently Trending

Advertise here !!!

James Franco Dresses In Drag, Mimics Cindy Sherman’s Photographs

img-franco_1654178408011james-franco-cindy-sherman-1.jpgimg-franco_165400758503

At current his exhibition at PACE Gallery, the actor James Franco tries his hand at self-portraiture, posing as the legendary photographer Cindy Sherman in replicas of her 1970s student project Untitled Film Stills, a series of silver gelatin prints in which she dressed as iconic women in film. In this strange mimesis of Sherman’s own impersonations, he reflects on an actor’s place, calling into question fixed notions identity, gender, and time.

Sherman, often playing the role of shape-shifting Bacchus and pushing the boundaries of selfhood, questioned the limitations of contemporary femininity, presenting clearly-defined roles for women: the femme fatale, the ingenue, the metropolitan sophisticate. Her film stills represent a sort of painful self-awareness; the film stops mid-reel, and the heroine introspects: who am I, beneath this costume?

The dialogue is complicated by Franco’s series, which in essence, presents an actor playing the role of artist playing the role of actor; what’s more, he’s a man playing at womanhood. Unlike most modern drag, where men seem to flawlessly transform into women, Franco insists on asserting his masculinity; in most of the images, he wears an unconvincing blond wig and facial hair.

Where there is a sort of anxiety in Sherman’s stills, the self-consciousness of being watched as expressed through a downturned lip and upward gaze, a housewife’s mishap in the kitchen, Franco’s New Film Stills project a self-assurance that borders on arrogance. His identity is unchanging, for unlike Sherman, his transformation is incomplete. He knows who he is, remaining forever the actor, who, in Brechtian fashion, refuses to lose himself completely to the character. Take a look. (via BUST, Art in America, and Interview)

Currently Trending