So...does this count as Jeffrey Deitch's first spectacle as director of MOCA? The flashy gallerist took the reins at the Los Angeles museum on June 1 and today, MOCA announces the performance piece SOAP at MOCA, which will bring actor James Franco and the plotline of General Hospital within the museum walls. We'd think the whole thing was bug-eyed bonkers if we didn't know Deitch better: Our experts who contributed free advice for Deitch's new role predicted this whole thing would happen a few months ago.
As we don't need to tell GH fans, Franco has been playing an artist on the soap opera since last season. When rumors surfaced that his work on GH would get a real-life gallery show at Deitch Projects, the soap and art worlds first began their sudsy agitation. Now it's all happening, only bigger: Franco's character will get his big break, a show at MOCA, and will leave Port Charles for L.A., where the episode will star Deitch as well as several real-life artists. The episode will be shot not at MOCA proper, but at the satellite MOCA location at the Pacific Design Center. In front of a live studio audience, of course!
Franco—who has been painting for 20 years—is also reportedly making a film about the experience that will eventually screen at MOCA as well, completing the performance piece as "mass entertainment to be viewed through an art world filter," says Deitch in a statement. "Franco's artwork examines performance: It looks at the multiple levels of identity that are wound into performance; the legitimacy of some performance over others; the contextualization of performance; and how this changes perception and even the nature of performance." And it will bring a lot of attention to your museum. However, in a recent interview Deitch said he wants us to remember a very important precedent: Andy Warhol was on The Love Boat.
In the same release, MOCA breathlessly details the plot (attention GH fans: SPOILER ALERT!). Keep in mind that this is a press release. From an art museum!
In this special episode, Franco, James Franco's character from General Hospital, will be having an exhibition at MOCA Pacific Design Center, during which time Jeffrey Deitch, the new director of MOCA, and the characters from Port Charles from General Hospital will be making their West Coast debut. The character's exhibition will include full-scale models of the locations in which he encountered mobster Jason Morgan (Emmy winner Steve Burton). To the musical accompaniment of his artistic collaborator Kalup Dashinel, played by critically acclaimed video and performance artist Kalup Linzy, who will perform live during the taping, Franco will attempt to lure Jason and others into his art-trap. If all goes to plan, mastermind Franco will turn both Jason Morgan's life and his own death into art, a performance to end all performances.
Will this turn the Los Angeles art community turn against Deitch? Will MOCA lose all credibility with its new board of directors? Will Franco win a Daytime Emmy? Tune into a very special episode of SOAP at MOCA, Thursday July 22, 3 p.m. EST/2 p.m. PST.