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2004

Post #180 • January 2, 2004, 6:00 PM • 2 Comments

I'm back. I like San Francisco. If someone showed up at the door and said, "Hi! We'd like you to move to San Francisco. Here's the wheelbarrow full of money you'll need to maintain your current modest lifestyle," I'd do it.

The roundup goes thusly: the San Jose Museum of Art had a great show called "The Not-So-Still Life," which pulled together a hundred years' worth of Californian art around a still life theme. This gave me the opportunity to see for the first time a painting that I have studied intensely from reproductions: David Park's Still Life with Brush and Comb. (I cannot find an image of it online.) The San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art had an interesting show of the students of longtime San Francisco Art Institute instructor Inez Storer.

In SF proper, the Asian Art Museum showed "Goryeo Dynasty: Korea's Age of Enlightenment, 918 to 1392" opposite "Leaning Forward, Looking Back: Eight Contemporary Korean Artists." Both shows were lovely. I particularly liked a machine by Kim Young-jim which projected a view of dripped and blown water superimposed on a map of the Korean coastline. It may be one of the most evocative and meditative political statements I've seen in a work of art. The Goryeo show had, among much else, sutra scrolls written in gold and silver leaf on black paper. They were illustrated in gold leaf as well, with hair-thin line drawings of bodhisattvas in detailed landscapes. I didn't know that it was possible to do that in gold leaf.

I went to the Palace of the Legion of Honor for the first time, which had a Degas sculpture show I saw in Sarasota (still great!) and an exhibition of works on paper by William Bailey. Bailey was the teacher of one of my teachers at RISD, Ellie Hollinshead, and he gave a talk there that made a big impression on me as I was trying to figure out whether to persue painting or cartooning. I can't find the quote right now, but he said something about being struck by the realization that he could make his work increasingly resonant instead of increasingly innovative, and that sounded true and healthy.

My intuition to stay away from the SFMOMA was justified by Tyler Green, who seems to be following me, and had this to say about the big Diane Arbus show there: "I cannot recall the last time I was so eager to be finished with an exhibit." I would have liked to go and make up my own mind, but there was too much else to see: Chinatown, where I bought a silk t'ai chi uniform that I promised myself back in June to commemorate five years of training; gourmet vegan dining at Millenium; a circus show put on by 7 Fingers; a New Year's Eve mega-party organized by my friend Davee's preferred crowd of ravers, freaky people, and Burning Man aficionados. (This last event featured a circus-drumming-go-go act called Mutaytor - tagline: "because evolution takes too long" - in which someone did a hula-hoop performance with jaw-dropping dexterity as the band roared in the background.)

I had a chance to think more upon the idea of starting a social entrepreneurship venture to promote art I like. I need to come up with a specific set of activities and goals for such a thing, and decide whether it is really necessary to form an organization to do them. There's a lot of things I could do, and perhaps should do, as Franklin Einspruch, rather than some kind of concocted entity. I will keep everyone posted as I work this into, or out of, existence.

I also got to take stock of it all in light of the new year. Not blogging for two weeks made me realize how much I enjoy it. I also recognized that at least some of the impulse to do these non-studio, art-related activities (writing, design, and other project-mongering) comes from a practice of keeping a lot of irons in the fire. That has served me well, but with my success of this past year, it may be time to take the leap into my art as if I could do it as a full-time career (although I would continue to write and code for pleasure). Scary, but it looks like it is time to run the experiment, at least in a controlled laboratory setting. I'm looking forward to this year. I hope it brings you much happiness, satisfaction, peace, and excitement.

Comment

1.

onajide

January 3, 2004, 7:18 PM

You took in quite a bit on your trip. My last time in SF, where I lived for 6 yrs., I said to myself, "Why am I living in Miami, I should be back in SF!" I would have gone to some of the alternative spaces while there. Did you get over to the East Bay?

2.

Franklin

January 3, 2004, 11:39 PM

Jide - Afraid not. There was good stuff up at the Berkeley Art Museum and the Oakland Museum but timing didn't permit. Too, driving between and within Bay Area cities can be a hassle during rush hour. That, the parking, and the land prices are all that separate San Francisco from heaven.

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