James Franco’s Bold New Work at SoHo’s Costume National Store

Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Still #14 (1978), and James Franco’s tribute, from New Film Stills.

James Franco might be the ultimate contemporary hyphenate: Academy Award-nominated actor, author, conceptual artist, film director, college student, soap star, Oscar host, cultural provocateur, the list goes on. From big-budget blockbusters to small New York art openings, he puts a post-ironic spin on much of his work, defying social boundaries and re-interpreting his cultural touchstones.

Now, for the opening of CoSTUME NATIONAL’s new SoHo store, Franco has contributed some fascinating pieces to the boutique’s premiere art show, “New No Dark Wave,” curated by Natacha Polaert. Inspired by MoMA’s recent acclaimed Cindy Sherman retrospective, Franco re-creates some of the artist’s famed Film Stills, blurring the space between gender and politics. He also is screening his new film, James Franco’s 40 Minutes, an unlicensed take on the infamous footage cut from William Friedkin’s notorious 1980 thriller Cruising, which starred Al Pacino as a cop investigating the dark underbelly of Manhattan’s gay leather clubs. Also featuring works by Tobias Wong, Frédéric Beigbeder, Aaron Young and Daniel Firman, “New No Dark Wave” will be on display until October 10th. —Amy Ferguson

Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Still #58 (1977), and James Franco’s homage.

A scene from James Franco’s 40 Minutes. In 1980, director William Friedkin’s notorious film Cruising was headed for an X rating. To get the R, he cut 40 minutes of controversial footage, which has since been lost. Franco imagines what might have been.