interesting things in the new times
Post #397 • October 28, 2004, 9:00 AM • 12 Comments
First interesting thing, to me, anyway, is that Alfredo Triff reviewed my show at Dorsch. He rather liked it. Thank you, Alfredo.
Franklin Einspruch's "Following the Weather" at the Dorsch Gallery reveals an artist fighting his own demon: figuration. Realism rescues him. Einspruch's exploration became clear to me at his show "Presence" in 2003 at Dorsch, where he tried to break loose from the iconography he is known for, realized with a detailed spatula work akin to pointillism.
Then, the artist wrestled with form and medium; only his canvases were too big to effectively translate his hand-and-body gesture effort and the form looked contorted. This attempt helped him understand that he can go small - or smaller, for now - and carefully measure his style progress. With "Following the Weather" Einspruch moves on to a very personal and somewhat abstract Expressionist figuration with the self-portraiture genre as leitmotif. Nothing is closer and safer than one's face. Yet, here lies the risk.
Frantic at times yet deliberate, Einspruch obstinately works tone and form. The sequence of little paintings makes you see how hue and gesture can alter sameness. What begins overtly ends introspectively, the realist self fades while a truer, deeper, likeness grows. My favorite self-portraits are: Mysterious Instructions, Howard Cimabue, Blue Negative, a wounded portrait-collage, Leafy Greens, a disintegrating mass - as if eaten by some mad force from the inside; Giotto, an effective minimalist contorted grimace and finally Backlight - strong and dark. Einspruch's effort has achieved a deliberate and intense chronicle of the many masks we wear and uncover in this multitude we call self.
Second interesting thing: on the following page, Martin Z. Margulies has taken out an advertisement opposing Bond Question #8 because of the funding it would grant to Museum Park. In an effort to settle this, I have developed a list of questions that I will send to the Miami Art Museum and to Margulies this morning. I post them here to demonstrate that I'm treating both sides with equal toughness, and to solicit information regarding these questions from insiders. Comment below or contact me by e-mail - I will withhold your name at your request. Answers appear first thing Monday, along with my recommendation on how to vote on Question #8.
Questions for Martin Z. Margulies
You claim in your advertisement that "$275 million of Bond Question #8 is slated for the construction of two private art museums." The facts indicate that Museum Park will consist of one art museum and one science museum, and that both museums will be public institutions. Do you want to clarify this?
You list a number of woes afflicting Miami, and suggest that the $275 million slated for Museum Park would be better spent on them. One of them is the fact, according to your ad, that 100,000 children do not have health insurance. We do not have socialized health care in this country (in fact, it only ever becomes increasingly privatized), so it seems that those children will continue to have no insurance even if Miamians vote No on Question #8. Why would having no museum and no insurance for those kids be preferable to having a museum and no insurance for those kids, since this is what the choice boils down to?
You also list a lack of parkland, a deficit at Jackson Memorial Hospital, 29% of people living below the poverty line, and uncompensated police and firefighters. Question #2 (Construct And Improve Parks And Recreational Facilities) will go towards increasing parkland, Question #5 (Construct And Improve Emergency And Healthcare Facilities) is aimed squarely at Jackson, Questions #6 (Construct And Improve Public Service Outreach Facilities) and #7 (Construct And Improve Housing For The Elderly And Families) are intended for the poor, and Question #4 (Construct And Improve Public Safety Facilities) seems directed at police and firefighters. One item on your list remains - a need to shore up the infrastructure of the schools. No ballot questions directly address this issue, but the one that comes close ("To construct and improve libraries, cultural facilities, and Head Start learning centers for pre-school children to offer multicultural educational opportunities and activities") is the same Question #8 (Construct And Improve Cultural, Library, And Multicultural Educational Facilities) that you would like us to vote No on. With most of your issues being addressed to the tune of millions of dollars by the other referendums, what's the harm in building Museum Park, particularly if its ordinance will begin to take care of some educational needs as well?
To what degree is your opposition to Museum Park prompted by animosity towards MAM director Suzanne Delahanty, MAM's board, or staff?
Questions for the Miami Art Museum
Margulies' advertisement points out that the words "museum" and "park" do not appear in the wording of Bond Question #8, and characterizes that as "an unethical attempt to deceive voters into paying for something they [meaning you] are pretty certain we would vote against were it properly disclosed." Indeed, according to a July 24 article in the Miami Herald, Mayor Penelas wanted to turn Museum Park funding into its own ballot question. Why did MAM lobby against that, and why is there no mention of Museum Park in Question #8 even though it accounts for half of its $552 million allocation? Is it for the reason that Margulies says - you knew that voters would oppose funding Museum Park if it were presented as a separate issue?
As of July, according to the same article, construction on the Performing Art Center on Biscayne Boulevard was nearly two years late and $240 million over budget. Why should Miamians want to risk voting another boondoggle into existence?
In an article for the New Times, Celeste Fraser Delgado characterized Museum Park supporters as behaving inscrutably about the total price tag. According to my own observations, this figure never appeared on the Museum Park Fact Sheet page of the MAM website until sometime after Penelas delivered MAM an ultimatum to produce some numbers and promises for fiscal responsibility; apparently, not even he knew how much it would cost or where the money would come from. Why did MAM try to keep this number a secret as long as possible?
Margulies has pointed out elsewhere that four of the top 200 collectors (presumably as chosen by ArtNews) live in Miami, and none of them are on the board at MAM. MAM has demonstrated a disturbing inability to connect with these prominent collectors, all of whom seem intent on showing their work to the public in privately owned spaces. Outside observers might reasonably conclude that MAM isn't worth supporting in either its present or expanded form, and that lack of cooperation from these collectors bodes ill for the future of the expanded museum. How would you respond to such a conclusion?
Many people support the idea of the new museums but fail to understand why it must be built on extremely valuable space in Bayfront Park. MAM promised to preserve parkland, but the American Airlines Arena next door reneged on similar promises. These people suggest keeping the park a park and putting the new museums on one of the many derelict and underused spaces within a mile of Bayfront. How would you persuade them that the museums must go into Bayfront Park?