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roundup

Post #350 • August 20, 2004, 10:10 AM • 63 Comments

Yours Truly for Street Weekly: Come and get it: All You Can Eat, at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, takes a bite out of consumer society.

Elisa Turner for the Miami Herald: A nuanced past is transformed into the present.

Elisa Turner for the Miami Herald: Picturing the modern world -- circa 1930.

Viviana Batista for the Miami Herald: Spotlight on Visual Arts: Humberto Benitez.

Michael Mills for the Broward/Palm Beach New Times: Artbeat.

Off to the studio to try to make some art that doesn't suck. Hasn't been going too well lately. Everybody take care and see you Monday.

Comment

1.

Michael Betancourt

August 20, 2004, 7:16 PM

I know this post will get people angry with me.

I see a conflict of interest here: Franklin reviewing a show by curated by Samantha Salzinger and failing to mention they were (still are?) dating. If that isn't a clear conflict of interest, I don't know what is.

Franklin, this is one you shouldn't have covered, period. I remember conflicts like this being attacked on this blog recently. Or am I wrong about that?

2.

N

August 20, 2004, 7:37 PM

Come on, Franklin. you can't be that dense. A 'standard' -- especially a 'standard' used to judge a visual -- will inevitably be a quality or a characteristic of that work. If you do not know believe this is so, then, I ask again, how the heck do you then define the word?

And Oldpro, you are being so unbelievably ridiculous. If you really need MB to hold your hand to reread the previous posts, perhaps you really should go back to elementary school. See, the thing is, I don't believe that you are unintelligent. I just think that your stubborness and ego is getting to be really childish.

3.

catfish

August 20, 2004, 7:52 PM

N: surely you did not intend to post #2 above in this thread. Doesn't it belong to the mega-thread started about a week ago?

4.

N

August 20, 2004, 8:11 PM

OOOPPPSS!!!! The post above was mean for another thread! Boy, I am an ass.

5.

oldpro

August 20, 2004, 9:34 PM

N: This can happen. Why not re-enter it on the other page.

6.

N

August 20, 2004, 10:02 PM

Michael -- my opinion regarding that conflict of interest: yeah, I would take someone's review of their girlfriend's show with a very large grain (lump?) of salt. But I tend to do that a little bit with most people's review of any show..... I guess feel that as long as it is out in the open that that is what's going on, those of us reading the review can be better informed on what we can get out of the review. In spite of that conflict of interest, I'm sure that a writer can still have very interesting and relevant things to say. I would just like to see other reviews of the same show done by people who aren't so closely, um, connected.

7.

Franklin

August 20, 2004, 10:36 PM

Oy. Okay, full disclosure: I had a relationship with Ms. Salzinger that lasted a bit less than three months and ended five months ago. No favors of any kind were exchanged for the article; neither were any axes ground. I stand by everything that I said about her and most of what I said about the show as reasonable and fair observations.

I say "most" because the version of the article that I agreed on with my editor differed in pointed ways from the published piece. I have taken this up with my editor and I don't feel that I should elaborate on it here until she gets back to me.

In the meantime other reviews of this show appear here and here.

8.

Michael Betancourt

August 21, 2004, 12:09 AM

Franklin, it doesn't matter whether you stand by it or not--this is a conflict of interest.

And yes, every writer encounters this at some point, but its a matter of where it's published and what it says. This review was published in a newspaper and they have standards and practices they must adhere to, conflicts of interest being one of the biggest no-nos. If you're going to be a journalist, you'd better expect to be held to the same standards as any other journalist.

9.

N

August 21, 2004, 12:12 AM

This whole southeastern florida area, though, is really rather small, in spite of Miami supposedly being a 'big city'. I don't know how anyone would really be able to avoid such conflicts of interest unless we all just stopped having relationships entirely with people who work in similiar fields and have similiar interests, and I just don't see how that's possible. What do we do about it, MB?

10.

Franklin

August 21, 2004, 12:21 AM

I'm with N here. My conflicts hardly end with Ms. Salzinger. What am I going to do, stop writing? I decided that I would just use my powers for good.

11.

Franklin

August 21, 2004, 12:22 AM

Okay, that sounded like I've had a relationship with everybody down here. For better or worse, this is not the case. It's been a long day.

12.

N

August 21, 2004, 12:28 AM

Not the case? Not what I've learned from some local bathroom stalls. Your mac'in' reputation precedes you, Franklin.

;)

13.

Michael Betancourt

August 21, 2004, 12:29 AM

N: part of the problem with conflicts of interest is they are likely to be impossible to avoid. At the same time, there are degrees of conflict and how they're handled.

Franklin handled this one wrong: this is a huge problem for Street Miami now that he's written this since it is a newspaper and they have very strict, clear codes against this kind of conflict. In this case, the answer is clear: he should not have covered this show, or had someone else do it.

His review acts like there is no relatoionship, and seems extremely positive in tone, especially when compared to the other reviews. This fact makes his write-up look even more suspicious, even if it really should not be seen that way.

This is one he could have avoided.

We have to be honest here: Franklin really doesn't have a good track-record when it comes to this kind of thing. It's not like he's a new writer who doesn't know what he's doing and it can be written off as inexperience. His extremely positive reviews of Dorsch Gallery, a space where he shows his work, even when slamming the art on display, suggests that he really doesn't care very much about this issue, or at least doesn't think before he acts. I'm honestly not sure which is worse.


One way to minimize the impact is full disclosure, as I suggested in the IMHO column.

Or, instead of being so positive (or negative either have the same problem) he could simply have worked to explain what the works on display mean and fit them into a historical context for the readers.

This piece is advocacy. Thus, the problem is compounded rather than reduced.

14.

Michael Betancourt

August 21, 2004, 12:31 AM

Forgot to add this.

The real problem with this review is it has now dammaged the reputation of the artists, Samantha Salzinger, the place where the show is on, and Street Miami. It does a disservice to all concerned, especially and most of all Franklin.

Street could fire him for this. It's that serious an issue.

15.

N

August 21, 2004, 12:34 AM

yeah, that first paragraph was quite the glowing dose of praise on Ms. Salzinger's ability as a curator, a major red flag, too, is that it is done in a manner uncharacteristic of what I've read of Franklin's other work. Ouch, Franklin. Without that first paragraph, I might have let you fly. But MB's got a really strong point here. That's true about reviews at the Dorsch? You do this often, Franklin, my friend?

16.

Michael Betancourt

August 21, 2004, 12:36 AM

fiy:

http://www.asne.org/kiosk/archive/principl.htm

link is the url link above


ARTICLE III - Independence. Journalists must avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety as well as any conflict of interest or the appearance of conflict. They should neither accept anything nor pursue any activity that might compromise or seem to compromise their integrity.

ASNE's Statement of Principles was originally adopted in 1922 as the "Canons of Journalism." The document was revised and renamed "Statement of Principles" in 1975.

17.

Michael Betancourt

August 21, 2004, 12:38 AM

http://www.miamiartexchange.com/pages/2001/08/07_einspruch.html

The only one who comes out of this debacle looking good is Brook Dorsch, who has overseen a first-class installation of this tiresome work.

18.

N

August 21, 2004, 12:41 AM

Franklin, why did you review the show instead of sending someone else to do it?

And Michael, does this mean that a person can never, ever write a review of a show done by someone who they may have at one point had a relationship with but now no longer do? I mean, that could get sticky..... it would be difficult, i think, in this area in particular, for a writer to not be friends or ex-companions or friends of friends or relatives or previous employees, etc. of just about EVERYONE. Where does one draw the line?

19.

N

August 21, 2004, 12:43 AM

Whoa, Michael, you got the evidence already, you got it..... I'm afraid you are making yourself look a bit vindicative here if you continue to make this the 'trash on franklin' page....

20.

Michael Betancourt

August 21, 2004, 12:45 AM

As I said before: conflicts of interest appear; it is the nature of being human.

BUT it is the details of what gets written that matter, and where they're published, and (most important) what the relationship is or was. I'm sure not every art reviewer has dated everyone who might be reviewed.

As with most things there are degrees, and how it's handled.

Yes, Miami and south Florida is a very small scene. This doens't excuse conflict of interest, it makes it that much more significant a factor.

21.

Michael Betancourt

August 21, 2004, 12:47 AM

This isn't a trash on Franklin page.

But at the same time, this issue is too important to pretend otherwise.

22.

N

August 21, 2004, 12:53 AM

Okay, MB, I see what you are saying.

23.

Franklin

August 21, 2004, 1:28 AM

N: That explains those strange phone calls I've been getting.

MB: Let's not get carried away here. The piece is not "extremely positive." My Chuck Close piece was extremely positive. Very positive, anyway. If they ever have a Lucian Freud show down here you'll see extremely positive.

I will concede this, though: my conflicts are myriad. But my opinion of my writing is high enough that I believe it should be out there anyway. The only thing I can do is be plain about my conflicts, which I cannot do in the space of a 500-word piece. But I can do it here, which is more than a lot of journalists can say for themselves. (Actually, several weeks ago someone wrote into Street and said that the very fact that I have a blog is a conflict.) I have certainly never denied that the conflicts exist.

Ah, more comments have arrived: I see MB has brought up the hoary Skins review. Rattle your chains, old ghost; you're dead and buried. Conflicted though I was, hardly anyone said that the show wasn't as bad as I said, and my review was followed by a threat of violence against my person that dwarfed the problems involving my integrity.

Since we're pulling out dirty laundry, we need to say that MB wrote about Dorsch Gallery after he attempted to have his work shown there and was unable to interest the proprietor. He has made statements that were unflattering to Dorsch, myself, and at least one other Dorsch artist, sometimes involving conflicts of interest as he has just now. They could be construed as retaliatory. I'm afraid that no one's hands are clean in this town, my friend. That's why I write in spite of it all. I wish I could live in a pure world, but I don't.

N: I reviewed the show because it was worth reviewing, it was my turn, and if I hadn't, Street wouldn't have covered it, which would have been a worse shame than my reviewing it. That's it. And as for my props to Salzinger, please have a look at what Mills and Weinberg said about her (linked above). I'm just agreeing with a consensus.

24.

N

August 21, 2004, 2:03 AM

Well, then, I say we all of us here in the Miami art world get together and have a big art orgy. We'll have lots of fun, we'll feel more relaxed about everything..... everyone will have a big ole grin on their face, and we'll all be equal in our share of conflicted interest.

25.

Franklin

August 21, 2004, 2:05 AM

N, we're closer to that scenario than you may know.

26.

N

August 21, 2004, 2:16 AM

alright, Franklin, I'll trust you on that one, seeing how if anyone should know how close we are to that scenario, it is, apparently, you......

(written entirely, of course, in the tone of goodnatured fun and games)

By the way, are you saying that you couldn't get someone else to review the Salzinger show, that you HAD to because it was your turn? Did stree know the situation? was it their decision?

27.

Franklin

August 21, 2004, 2:24 AM

Well, I don't have to do anything except eat and breathe. I wanted to review this show and I believe I did a decent job of it. As for my interaction with Street, again, I have to refrain from commenting until my editor gets back to me.

28.

Franklin

August 21, 2004, 2:25 AM

Um, I feel I should wait to comment. Okay, I've become a danger to myself here. Have a good one.

29.

Michael Betancourt

August 21, 2004, 2:57 AM

In point of fact:

Yes, Dorsch did show my work once, as part of a group show organized by a guest curator. I was recommedned to her by another artist in that show. Dorsch expressed an interst in seeing more, came by, and nothing ever worked out mostly because I don't really care about showing objects that much, and so don't pursue it.

Movies are a different matter. Earlier this year I programmed a small show of video there called "Death and Taxes."

The negative comments Franklin refers to come from a review called "Art or Ego" about Carlos de Villasante at Dorsch back in 2001.
Very good things are said about both Dorsch and Villasante, but the central probem of the show (referenced in the title) coming from its inclusion of a tryptich portrait of Dorsch as the centerpiece of the show. If my commenting that this piece raises questions of conflict of interest (it does) and then explaining how and why and what the effect is == retaliation, that's your world, not mine. You're welcome to read the review and decide for yourselves:

http://www.miamiartexchange.com/pages/2002/04/betancourt_04-8.html

also pay attention to the reader responses:

http://www.miamiartexchange.com/pages/loc/loc-apr02.html

This would all be ancient history if it didn't keep repeating itself. Personally, I've come to conclude the biggest danger to Miami is not hype, something I originally noticed and was deeply troubled by, but the interlocking conflicts of interst that run through the entire art world, not simply Miami.

30.

Michael Betancourt

August 21, 2004, 3:03 AM

Also, I have never claimed conflicts were completely avoidable, only talked about ways to deal with them.

I invite anyone to go and read any of my reviews of art in Miami and point to a conflict of interest like the ones I'm objecting to here.

The closest you will find is an article published in an experimental film magazine called "hi-beam" that contextualized a video piece called "TV." If there's something more dramatic, I'd like to know so I can avoid it in future.

Like I've been saying all along: it's a matter of what's said, and where its said that determines the problem.

31.

catfish

August 21, 2004, 4:34 AM

Franklin, welcome to Word Pergatory.

32.

Jerome du Bois

August 21, 2004, 9:08 AM

To All:

I have read the First Paragraph and . . . come on, Dr. B, N, whoever. There is no conflict of interest, just clever, colorful words, positive images, perfect for paper-public consumption.

I've never met Franklin, but I've read enough of his words, and I've been honored to be on the receiving end of several of his well-thought-out attacks, to know he's straight-up, a mensch. So sorry, Dr. B., but if you can't see yet that you couldn't carry his water -- if you gotta come up on him like this . . . well, it's embarrassing, don't you see?

I know, it's none of my business out here in Phoenix, and maybe this thread is over -- our server was down all day -- but I see a man I'd like to call a friend someday getting attacked for no good reason. Back off him, will you?

Sincerely,

Jerome du Bois

PS. Dr. B -- going back through the comments I come across your harrumphing about ARTICLE III and so on . . . I must say I was warming to you, but now I say, "Back off Franklin, you pompous twit. You are not the arbiter here."

33.

Michael Betancourt

August 21, 2004, 4:31 PM

Professional journalists get fired (or receive a disciplinary warning, which can be just as bad) for what Franklin has done. It's that simple. I don't understand why this is so hard to grasp. Maybe because its a blog, I don't know.

Jerome, you may think I'm a pompous twit, but I think you're a fool for what you've just said.
If you read this thread, its clear nobody here seems to "get" the severity of this issue, except maybe Franklin who I think "got it" when he signed off. That's why the ASME guideline was posted. Maybe it isn't a major problem for Phoenix, if so, good. Miami is exceedingly corrupt at all levels, and this situation is a symptom of that. We have arts coverage here that makes up all the details and publishes them as if they are the truth. OK? Are we clear about this?

Franklin has commented several times over the last few years that I am the one of the few people in this town who will stand up and be counted. That's what I'm doing here. For whatever that's worth to Phoenix.

M

34.

oldpro

August 21, 2004, 6:18 PM

Jerome, thank you for saying what you did. You and I have fought like cats and dogs on this thing, and may do so again, but you did yourself proud for coming to Franklin's defense here, and doing it the way you did it.

If we don't raise the level of discussion on this blog we are going to kill it. As "Jacki" said a week ago ago, in the midst of last Friday's Roundup acrimony:

"Is this how you act with everyone? I don't know any of you and I don't think I want to, either. I'm glad none of my artist friends act like this"

35.

Jerome du Bois

August 21, 2004, 7:44 PM

oldpro:

Thanks. Really, thanks; I needed that.

JdB

36.

Franklin

August 21, 2004, 9:07 PM

Testing, don't mind me.

37.

that guy in the back row

August 22, 2004, 2:25 AM

Alright you gossipy gaggle. mb, and n clam down and talk about art. You guys seem to have a strong proclivity for being anal fussy little bitches. Either go to law school where those types are needed or go back to you own blogs which no one reads. Which ever but do it fast.

38.

Franklin

August 22, 2004, 2:39 AM

No need for that, Guy. This topic was going to get on the table eventually, whether it concerned who I know or the fact that I make and show art down here. I intend to face this bravely and honestly.

39.

that guy in the back row

August 22, 2004, 3:15 AM

I see and admire that. But it reads like a gossip column. If I don't tell these people to go bugger off, hardly anyone else will. Little nod to Jerome there. Now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag this is as good a place as any to have this discussion. I just don't see the need for it in your case. Its petty jealousy on there part. You are an artist writer who writes about art. There are so many larger fish to fry in this scene, why not target them. You are fighting a good fight Franklin. They are bullying you into fighting one that isn't.

40.

oldpro

August 22, 2004, 3:21 AM

Good grief, Franklin! You wrote a review of the work of someone you had a relationship with for 3 months 5 months ago. No favors were exchanged. There was no quid pro quo. You did nothing wrong. This is not National Security we are talking about, it is some damn insignificant Miami art show! Who do we think we are? At what point does the mass recusal and ceremony of guilt commence? This crap just paralyzes open discourse. It is nobody's business but yours and your editors, and If I were your editor I would say, well, as long as the red-taloned thought police are soaring and circling, be careful, OK.

Sorry, I am with Jerome on this one, all the way

41.

Michael Betancourt

August 22, 2004, 3:25 AM

Explain this please:

You are fighting a good fight Franklin. They are bullying you into fighting one that isn't.

How is avoiding a conflict of interest fighting a bad fight? (That comment makes even less sense than usual.)
I don't get it.

42.

oldpro

August 22, 2004, 3:54 AM

Pack it in, Torquemada

43.

Jacki

August 22, 2004, 4:42 AM

The only bullying I see happening is by that back row guy and old pro, some of the same ones as last week.

I thought I'd give it a try again, and I wonder why I bothered. There's nothing here but angry boys calling each other names.

JG

44.

Michael Betancourt

August 22, 2004, 4:50 AM

Who's acting like thought police here, oldpro?

Both you an backrow have now repeated my oft made comment that this blog attempts to drive away anyone who dissents. Thank you. The only thought police inquisitor here is you, and calling me that name is equivalent to calling me the N-word.

I'm glad Jacki came back, and hope she returns.

M

45.

oldpro

August 22, 2004, 4:56 AM

Sorry, Jacki, but please read the whole blog and get it straight. The anger I am expressing is against the bullying that has been going going on here all day. It had nothing to do with me.

46.

catfish

August 22, 2004, 6:31 AM

Now that oldpro is back the blog can proceed to Word Hell.

47.

Jerome du Bois

August 22, 2004, 7:08 AM

Dr. B:

Jerome, you may think I'm a pompous twit, but I think you're a fool for what you've just said.
If you read this thread, its clear nobody here seems to "get" the severity of this issue, except maybe Franklin who I think "got it" when he signed off. That's why the ASME guideline was posted. Maybe it isn't a major problem for Phoenix, if so, good. Miami is exceedingly corrupt at all levels, and this situation is a symptom of that. We have arts coverage here that makes up all the details and publishes them as if they are the truth. OK? Are we clear about this?


No, we're not clear at all. Journalistic guidelines don't mean shit when you're editor has no morals. This has happened to me more than once; the last editor who tried to play me I'm sure signed contracts and agreements to ethical guidelines that were printed with the best of intentions, while people snickered behind their hands.

Smart people make their own judgments; they don't make sure somebody has somebody else's seal of approval. That's a fool's game. I'm going to take some organization's word that Tony Ortega from Phoenix New Times wasn't going to submarine me? You sound like you've spent to much time in sheltered environments, Dr. B. One of the ways to get people to change is not to present them with a list of printed criteria by some officially sanctioned organization, but to tell them you are ashamed of their behavior. But then, it's your character in balance as well then, always, isn't it, because you have to be someone they would not want to be ashamed before. I believe in the rule of law above all, but our lives are lived out before one another, aren't they?

I didn't know Franklin from Kinky Friedman when I first dropped into this blog (now I do; Franklin's the young, good-looking one); but I read and read and listened and fumed and learned and laughed and made my own judgments. I don't need to know if he's signed off on the ASME to make my own assessments of Franklin's integrity; he has shown it to me, with his words, with the profile he presents, with the risks he takes hanging it out here on his own words, no net.

And what is so severe about the issue? You guys aren't defusing bombs out there, are you? Doing stem cell research? Unofficially bifurcating criteria? Reticulating Martian wombats? You mean that Franklin might say something nice about somebody he was once close to, and this statement will irrevocably swerve the weak, susceptible artblog reader, unschooled in the Betancourt Warnings -- turn, turn away, you fool! -- toward some unauthorized state of mind? Welcome to the real, messy world, Dr. B. -- the one you cannot control. And you're the one who brought up the term "thought police," weren't you?

There's no thought police on this blog, as far as I know. Franklin don't delete much, and if he do, he say so. On mine, I delete comments so arbitrarily and quickly and rudely, without explanation, it's like they never happened. I'm an impatient weeder. Franklin, on the other hand, is a Zen gardener; he wants to see what grows. I like it. I'm here for the duration.

And Jacki:

Get off the sexist thing, and stop whimpering. Stand up and say something substantive, instead of telling us about how your artist friends don't act this way around you. They sound boring. So sorry (quiet hiss and bow.) This isn't about boys and testosterone. Don't denigrate these adult men with demeaning terms. If you are a woman, they are men.

Sincerely,

Jerome du Bois

48.

The Red Queen

August 22, 2004, 7:31 AM

Betancourt is right, but he pales beside me in righteousness, pathetic nothing that he is. Einspruch is guilty. Off with his head! But they are all guilty, one way or another. No wonder Im always irritable, surrounded by miscreants. That Turner woman, I hear, is on quite amicable terms with that puny, scrawny Clearwater person, yet she regularly reviews shows at MoCA. How dare she, the mousy wretch? Off with her head! Then theres that peculiar Triff, with those appalling sideburns I should have outlawed ages ago, and those highly dubious accessory choices, most unsuitable for a respectable man--but then all men are fools. Hes fairly friendly with all manner of gallery types and artists, isnt he? He must be interrogated at once, and no explanation will be accepted. He must confess to all charges of corruption. Off with his head! They are all corrupt, I tell you; they are all guilty of something or other. No dispensations, no excuses, no understanding of any kind! And as for Betancourt, how does he know so much about Einspruchs personal life? Isnt he always claiming to be so busy working, to have no time? Reminds me of that idiotic White Rabbit, only much more uppity. Well, his Ph.D.--such stuff and nonsense--wont save him. The others may be corrupt, but hes obnoxious. OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!!!!!!!

49.

catbird

August 22, 2004, 7:33 AM

Jerome you don't read very well. It was oldpro who mentioned though police, then he begins calling names and saying "get lost." This whole discussion is really stupid. Dr B says its corrupt here, then what's the problem? If its really all that bad, you can bet we all already know it.

But I don't see this Betencourt guy making the claims you say he makes either. He looks like he's trying not make them, actually.

So, this is business as usual. Maybe a notch or two nastier.

Which means I agree with Jacki. Oldpro and backrow and now you, Jerome, are bullying, and everyone's acting like a bunch of assholes. Take it down a notch.

50.

dumbass

August 22, 2004, 7:36 AM

clean cup! clean cup! move down move down!!

51.

Jerome du Bois

August 22, 2004, 7:58 AM

Regarding comments #48, 49, and 50 (hey golly, Franklin, I see it now! I'm getting the hang of this number thang):

You guys must have very different drugs in Miami. Scary ones.

Seriously, from the beginning, my whole stance has been that Franklin Einspruch is a mature man who can make detached aesthetic judgments, and that Dr. Michael Betancourt did not trust those judgments, and that Dr. Michael Betancourt was wrong in his conclusion. Franklin Einspruch is serene about his review, Dr. Michael Betancourt is anxious. Franklin is confident he has clean hands, Dr. Michael Betancourt is chewing his nails that everything ain't A-J squared away with the People With The Big Initials. I'm hanging with Franklin Einspruch, I'm not about to hold Dr. Michael Betancourt's nervous hand. That's it. You wanna embellish, start there.

I love this blog. Thanks for tolerating me, Franklin.

Sincerely,

Jerome du Bois

52.

catbird

August 22, 2004, 8:03 AM

I see this differently than you do.

Somepeople know about what happens in the art world, other's don't. Dr B apparenly does. He points out a problem that was getting talked about on this very blog, and says this is a problem.

The thing that struck me about all this is this, from #14, " Street could fire him for this. It's that serious an issue." That sounds to me like someone who doesn't want to lose Franklin as a critic, not someone who's out to get him.

Do we have some cocane cowboys posting here? The level of paranoia makes me think so.

53.

Jerome du Bois

August 22, 2004, 9:11 AM

No, catbird, you are wrong, and many of you are dodging the basics here. I say there was no conflict of interest from the very beginning because Franklin's balanced judgment can be trusted, even if based solely on the history of his posting on this blog. The previous and present relationship with Ms. S. is irrelevant to his aesthetic decisions. You want him to sign some kind of impartiality oath, and that stinks. It stinks of your own doubt of your own sincerity and integrity, not his.

And you, catbird, are horrified that losing his gig with Street is serious. Puhleeze. I been larnin' over the last couple years or so, paper is day-ed. Even copied-over electronic versions of paper are day-ed. Blogs will eventually have weight. Make your money elsewhere. It isn't worth $200-400 a month (at the high end) for two 600-800 word pieces the editors eviscerate anyway. I know from long, bitter experience. Don't any of you dare even try to put your muffling hands over Franklin's mouth, or mine, or even . . . dammit . . . Dr. B.'s.

Sincerely,

Jerome du Bois

54.

catfish

August 22, 2004, 12:39 PM

To clarify #46 (my post about the return of oldpro):

I was speculating that the return of the favorite scapegoat of many who frequent this blog would shift attention from Franklin's Purgatory to oldpro and his many alleged defects, leading us into another Word Hell. I was, at best, just partially right. Franklin remains the primary target of those carrying bazookas.

If everyone in the country is just six acquaintances away from knowing the president, there is no doubt that Miami, large as it is, is full of people who relate to other people in the city, especially within the art crowd, which is just a small portion of an already small portion of the country's population.

In the end, it is impossible to know another person's motives. So stick with commenting on what they say, which can be known.

55.

oldpro

August 22, 2004, 4:53 PM

Thank you catfish. If we can leave speculation on motives entirely aside and just reply accurately (emphasize: accurately) to what has been literally put down in black and white it will improve everything around here 100%.

56.

Sally Brown

August 22, 2004, 5:02 PM

I agree with MB that Franklin should have had someone else review the ACH show. It's amazing that so many people have no problem with the conflict.

Franklin, the work in the show seems to typify all that you were railing against in a previous blog: art against fashion. Have your ideas changed since writing the review of the exhibition?

57.

catfish

August 22, 2004, 6:02 PM

Sally: Your question about the apparent shift in Franklin's writing is exactly the kind of thing that is relevant. He can address that. Kudos.

58.

Franklin

August 22, 2004, 6:22 PM

Sally, you asked a fair question, but answering it properly requires that I talk about the issue that I took up with my editor. I apologize; please know that I will discuss this on the blog shortly thereafter.

59.

Alfredo Triff

August 22, 2004, 9:31 PM

Red Queen: thanks but no. These appalling sideburns take time to furnish. If only for that, I intend to keep them. The ad hominem the big guys display here is redundant and doesn't take away the issue at hand. Lets separate friendship from fact: Franklins disclosure happened after MB already noticed a possible conflict. Full disclosure shouldve appeared in the printed article. When Franklin comments that no favors of any kind were exchanged for the article; neither were any axes ground I do believe him (I opined that the language in his review is restrained). Yet, his excuse is empty. What some in this blog ignore is not that he exchanged any favors (I really believe he didnt) but that it gives other observers reasonable doubt that he may have. This is enough reason not to do it in the first place. Next time Franklin should avoid it. However, conflict of interest are subtle and many and it can happen to anyone the more reasons to be vigilant.

60.

catfish

August 22, 2004, 10:16 PM

Alfredo: Do you really think Franklin should have said something to the effect he once had a sexual relationship with one of the subjects in his article? Or is there some other way to put it you had in mind?

61.

oldpro

August 22, 2004, 10:22 PM

Triff's observations are clear and well put. Obviously the "reasonable doubt" problem is the problem. Unfortunately, and unavoidably, it cannot comprehend the fact that there are good guys and bad guys, and so it was good that he emphasized that these things were subtle and could happen to anyone.

I have had some direct experience with some pretty nasty score-settling, using reviews as the vehicle, which is a direct and severe conflict of interest but one which is unlikely to be taken as such. This illustrates the further necessity of defining and drawing the line: where does it start? Once moral vigilance focuses and gathers shape and substance it can go to ridiculous extremes - "full disclosure; I shook this person's hand at an opening on March 16, 2003". This sounds silly, but when it comes to righteous political correctness, things get silly. That needs to be fought every bit as hard as conflict of interest does.

62.

Alfredo Triff

August 22, 2004, 10:35 PM

Catfish: Disclosure helps because once you know and its in the open a neutral observer has less reason to assume hidden agendas (though there are cases when its better not to get involved, period). I dont know if this is such case. That's F's call --as he reviews his future options. In this particular instance, one doesnt have to be so overt as to appear ridiculous and believe me F. has enough acumen to save himself the trouble. I prefer when elegance wins over crudity... Take care.

63.

catfish

August 23, 2004, 3:18 AM

Alfredo: I understand, especially about elegance. But once sex enters the picture, elegance seems out of reach. I'm not knocking sex, just saying how people react as soon as they get the idea it is involved. oldpro talks about "score-settling" and that certainly is a reality, but it just does not start up the same reactions.

Maybe Franklin is enough of a wordsmith to figure out something. But even the great Greenberg never worked his way out of the suspicions so many had about him and Frankenthaler's career, even though he never wrote about her.

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