Four days ago Pablo Ganguli of Liberatum and I were working on another project for The Venice Film Festival, when he received an email to sponsor the great James Franco's artwork on the Island of Certosa, Venice. Without hesitation we agreed to do it, why would we not? Last week it had been a great week for the "Gold Markets" if nothing else, so what better way to invest the excesses but to put it into the artworld?.
James had been sponsored originally by Gucci, the fashion power house. Rebel was a showcase for Douglas Gordon whose work I love, Harmony Karine, Ed Ruscha and Aaron Young. It was curated by the very active Dominic Sidhu.
The exhibition was huge, on a deserted shipyard, an old monastery, spread over at least 5 acres of land. James made use of all the derelict buildings. The artwork was sometimes gross, yet beautiful, the contemporary raw photography that is fashionable. Influenced by Rebel without a cause and a fascination with James Dean, Dominic Sidhu pulled it off.
There were also other amusing aspects to it. A girl in a black dress and orange shoes was almost strapped to James's side for most of the exhibition, who I later found out was called Adarsha Benjamin, who helped with the event, as did Laura Alfieri. One of my most favourite photographers from London arrived and snapped away, Dave Bennett, whose wife I adore.
The production of Rebel started over a year ago in a genial way and based on the male form, housed within the original film "Rebel without a cause". It dealt with, Who is man?
What do they feel? How do they destroy?