James Franco / Gus Van Sant

Unfinished
February 26 - April 9, 2011

James Franco / Gus Van Sant - Unfinished
GUS VAN SANT
Untitled, 2010
Watercolor and charcoal on paper
Unframed: 52 x 56 1/2 inches (132.1 x 143.5 cm); Framed: 55 1/2 x 60 1/4 inches (141 x 153 cm)


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Gagosian Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition by Gus Van Sant and James Franco.

"Unfinished" features the film, My Own Private River, which is a collaboration between Van Sant and Franco. After casting Franco in the award-winning film Milk (2008), Van Sant showed him the dailies and other footage that he had shot many years before for My Own Private Idaho (© 1991 New Line Cinema Corp. All rights reserved), which starred River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves as street hustlers in Portland, Oregon. Much of this material did not make it into the final cut, and so Franco decided to fashion it into a new film, riffing off the original title.

My Own Private River consists largely of shots of Phoenix 's character, Mike, woven into a compelling portrait. Franco describes being mesmerized by Phoenix 's "uninhibited acting" in this unreleased footage, and his edit captures the gifted actor at his most emotionally expressive and physically dynamic. The score is by Michael Stipe, who is an art school drop-out.

The film is accompanied by seven bold, large-scale works on paper by Van Sant, which translate his acute directorial sensitivity with regard to human nuance and gesture in film into the immediacy of watercolor. With the same subtle powers of observation that distinguish his filmmaking, he has created portraits of young men who recall characters in My Own Private Idaho -- defiant, circumspect, and devil-may-care insouciants. Working from photographic images found on the internet, Van Sant has created vivid impressions of his incidental icons, employing brushwork that alternates broad, limpid strokes with an assiduous attention to detail and a varied palette of both washed out tones and dense, electric hues.

Gus Van Sant was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1952. He obtained a BA from the Rhode Island School of Design where he studied painting and cinema. Best known for his work as an award-winning director, he has also exhibited his art at galleries and public institutions including Jamison-Thomas Gallery, Portland, PDX Contemporary Art, Portland, and The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon.

James Franco was born in Palo Alto, California in 1978. He obtained a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles and an MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia University. He is currently enrolled in the Digital Media Department at the Rhode Island School of Design. An acclaimed actor, Franco is also actively engaged in performance art, painting, video, and installation art. He has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Clocktower Gallery, New York, and Peres Projects, Berlin.

Press Enquiries
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For all other information please contact the gallery at losangeles@gagosian.com or at +310.271.9400.