OHWOW have unveiled an impressive new publication, Rebel, a book to accompany the exhibition presented by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) from May 15 through June 23, 2012, at JF Chen, Los Angeles. The book captures and documents James Francoʼs original vision for this interrogative ode to Nicholas Rayʼs masterpiece Rebel Without A Cause (1955), with contributions from Douglas Gordon, Harmony Korine, Damon McCarthy, Paul McCarthy, Terry Richardson, Ed Ruscha, and Aaron Young.
The 192-page book is a visual examination of moments in and out of frame, expanding the filmʼs narrative and documenting the fresh and unconventional films, videos, photography, painting, drawings, and sculpture presented in the exhibition. The book also includes film stills and photographs not included in the exhibition, and traces the participating artistsʼ reinterpretation of the original film’s legends, the people involved, its place in Hollywood, film as a medium, and behind-the-scenes footage.
An introductory essay by author and art theorist Francisco J. Ricardo, PhD., outlines the background to Rebel, explaining the impetus for Francoʼs inquiry and his artistic motivations, from conception through execution. Ricardo states that, “The project was essentially about the conflation of truth and lore, romance and performance, and emotions in and out of frame that reflected three simultaneous realities: the world of adolescent development at that time, the filmʼs plot and script, and the private passions already in play among the cast and within themselves.”
Inspired both by material that was written but never filmed, and cultural moments from 1955, Franco collaborated with each artist to explore the spirit of the original film, its themes of masculinity and moral decay, and the eraʼs auto and motorcycle culture.In the book, Francoʼs work for Rebel begins with a “re-configuration” of Age 13 (1955) – a Sid Davis social education film about fracture in the family home, alienation and near violence – re-shot as the James Dean back-story.
Douglas Gordon continues this inquiry, reinterpreting never-before-filmed scenes, which include Henry Hopper lashing his body with a red marker pen; Harmony Korine restages the filmʼs knife fight, Paul McCarthy and son Damon McCarthy, present a video installation with Franco starring as James Dean, Paul McCarthy as Nicholas Ray, and others in ludicrous abstractions of events that were rumored to have happened during the making of Rayʼs Rebel Without a Cause. The video, which is set in Bungalow Two at the Chateau Marmont, and references Hollywood and celebrity and art and the art world, is described by the McCarthys as “the beginning of an ongoing investigation into, and improvisations involving, a group of characters for a major multimedia installation work.”;Terry Richardson shoots Franco in drag for Candy magazine; Ed Ruscha captures the historic setting of Hollywood through a monologue from Nicholas Rayʼs Blind Run, an early script for the original film. A painting by Ruscha Rebel (2011) will be reproduced as a billboard in the exhibition. Bringing theRebel book to a dramatic close, Aaron Young drops a model of the car that collided with Deanʼs into a ditch in the desert.
The bookʼs cover design includes a Rebel logotype created specially for the book by legendary tattoo artist Mark Mahoney, who collaborated with Franco on the work Brad Renfro Forever (2011), in which, as a tribute to a contemporary rebel, Mahoney carved the late actor Brad Renfroʼs first name into Francoʼs arm with a switchblade.
“OHWOW is pleased to provide another level of support to MOCA and to the artists,” said Al Moran, Co-founder of OHWOW. “What Rebel Without A Cause dealt with over a half century ago is still relevant in contemporary society and giving this project life beyond the exhibition timeframe is essential.”
Rebel is published to coincide with the exhibition of the same title presented by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The book will be available initially at OHWOW and at the MOCA Store. Rebel will be on view from May 15 through June 23, 2012, at JF Chen, located at 941 North Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038.