James Franco, New Film Still #21, 2013, gelatin silver print, 30 by 40 inches. © 2014 James Franco, courtesy Pace Gallery


Actor James Franco vamps it up in a show opening this week in New York. In each of his "New Film Stills" (2013), to be on view at Pace Gallery (Apr. 11-May 3), the actor mimics the pose Cindy Sherman struck and the costumes she wore in one of her late-1970s "Untitled Film Stills."

"Cindy is an artist who used cinema as a source for her work," Franco says in a press release. "She ‘played' at being an actress. I am an actor who inserts himself into his work. Where Cindy used cinema as a starting place, I use art as a starting place." Franco goes on to name some of his favorite artists, including Douglas Gordon and Richard Prince, who also use imagery from popular movies in their work.

Sherman's "Untitled Film Stills" have broken the million-dollar mark at auction; Untitled Film Still #28 (1979) sold at Christie's New York in November 2007 for $1.2 million. Another Sherman photograph, from 1981, sold for $3.9 million at Christie's New York in May 2011. Franco's photos come in editions of three or 10; prices range from $6,000 to $15,000.

Franco has been an ever-present figure in the art world for the last few years, with, among other efforts, an art show in 2010 at the Clocktower organized by Alanna Heiss, an appearance in a Performa piece with Laurel Nakadate in 2011, and a role in a 2013 film by Isaac Julien, along with his screen and stage appearances.