James Franco carved “Brad Renfro” into his arm. For art.

James Franco is a great actor, but what I love about him is that he’s basically a human slam-poem, a living bundle of ambitious, artistic provocations such that when he tells an interviewer something like that his parents call him “Ted” growing up, the interviewer requires no explanation and asks no follow up. It’s James Franco. Why wouldn’t his parents call him Ted?  Anyway, remember that naked-chick-gang fight Franco was filming with Harmony Korine?  Today the LA Times has more information on it. It was part of an exhibit called “Rebel” at the Venice Biennale, paying homage to the 1955 classic Rebel Without a Cause. Of course! It’s all making sense now.

Korine makes his own piece reinterpreting the classic switchblade fight scene in the original  movie with machetes wielded by two [naked] female gangs instead.

That was Harmony Korine’s contribution.  As for Franco’s…

Franco, who had a hand in the other artists’ projects, also made work for this show in homage to the actor Brad Renfro, who died in 2008 at age 25 of a heroin overdose. He had Renfro’s name carved into his right arm with a switchblade, documenting the carving in photography and film. (The carving itself could be seen as one of the show’s more permanent artworks.) [LATimes]

And flesh wounds are more permanent than video because… you know what?  Nevermind.  It’s just a shame none of the goth chicks I went to high school with realized what brilliant artists they were when they were carving “Kurt Cobain” into their arms.  I guess it takes a private school to build that kind of self-esteem.  In related news, I’ll be wearing my “RIP JONATHAN BRANDIS” t-shirt with the hangman stick figure on it while masturbating into a tortoise shell at my local Wiccan New Year’s Eve Po-Mo Festival, as a comment on primitivist overtones in Apocalypse Now.  The director’s cut, anyway.