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Post #400 • November 2, 2004, 6:41 AM • 22 Comments recommends voting Yes on Bond Question #8, which will, in part, fund the whole Museum Park shebang to the tune of $275 million.

Despite Martin Z. Margulies's objections expressed yesterday, despite the fact that the Miami Art Museum did not deign to answer questions posed by your humble (ahem) chronicler, and despite the fact that in several ways Museum Park seems like a terrible idea, I recommend that you vote Yes.

I advise this as a matter of realpolitik, not on the basis of principles. Principles dictate that parkland ought to remain parkland, rendered enjoyable by sensitive landscape architects and a security presence. Principles dictate that MAM and the Museum of Science ought to generate their own financial solutions, buy privately owned land, and build their expanded facilities on the nickel of individual investors, while the $275 million goes to a Manhattan Project directed at dislodging Miami from its #1 ranking as the poorest city in the country. Principles indicate that a museum whose collection, presented as such, has continually disappointed me until several weeks ago when I reviewed "Light and Atmosphere," ought not receive a humongus facility by way of taxpayer largesse until it establishes a better track record. Principles dictate that no favors should be granted to a museum board incapable of establishing diplomatic relations with the four biggest collectors in town. Principles dictate that we learn the lesson of public land givaways from the example of Parrot Jungle - who said thank you sort of like the parrots do, with $25 admission fees. Principles dictate that the city ought to get out of the public cultural facilities business in light of the Performing Arts Center debacle - not just the mismanagement and cost overruns, but the fact that at this stage of construction, the building looks like a turtle that someone hacked in half with an ax.

But in the Magic City, principles demand too much.

We should regard this as a totally self-interested project designed to coddle the interests of some rich, ambitious people, like the American Airlines Arena. (Actually, that Manhattan Project ought to design an Architectonica design-seeking missile.) But the interests of these particular rich, ambitious people intersect those of us plain old art lovers to a greater degree than a lot of other rich, ambitious people in town. Remember, back in 2000 when this whole Museum Park deal got going, its supporters first had to outmaneuver the folks who wanted to build another baseball stadium on the site. Putting museums there locks those people out for good. Museum Park aspires to have a sculpture garden, so unlike the AAA, they have a reason to take up a role of stewardship for the surrounding green space. Two cultural facilities on that spot starts to make development on Biscayne Boulevard between 2nd and 15th Street look less harebrained, may revitalize downtown, and increases the likelihood that the elimination of the nightmare that is I-395 will come to pass. The design itself avoids architectural grandstanding, which caused much of the $67 million cost overrun at the PAC (the builder couldn't work with the starchitect's drawings), and ought to be easier to put up than the PAC. Beats the heck out of a baseball stadium.

MAM director Suzanne Delehanty is nearing a station of life at which one might consider retirement. Her logical in-house successor is Senior Curator Peter Boswell, who brought in some of the heaviest hitters ever to grace MAM - he oversaw the Brice Marden and Chuck Close shows (and, I believe, the Martin Puryear show as well). His aesthetic tastes run towards the sensible and sensitive. Putting a big museum under him, whether he becomes director or not, would provide the local art world with a boon.

So I'm going with it. Worst case scenario, which won't happen: MAM totally implodes, we fail to rehabilatate a defunct greenspace, clog the city with another disused building (what's one more?), waste a ton of money (what's another few hundred million?), and go from #1 poorest city in the US to #1 poorest city in the US. In the meantime, Head Start, Fairchild Garden, the new Coral Gables Museum, and many other worthy endeavors get some serious dough.

Best case scenario, which could happen: we get a big new art museum, a reason to set foot into Bayfront Park, and assurance that nothing totally stupid (baseball stadium) will happen to the site.

Just one thing - someone must bridge this senseless chasm between the Gang of Four (clans Margulies, de la Cruz, Scholl, and Rubell) and MAM. If we take Margulies at his word, the Board needs to enact major revisions.

As for recommending a presidential candidate, I wouldn't presume to know anything about politics beyond the art world, and hence will keep my counsel.



Phil Isteen

November 2, 2004, 5:11 PM

What about the Bramans & the Shacks? I think they are actually among the listed 'world's top collectors'...(by Art in America??)



November 2, 2004, 5:38 PM

metrozoo also benefits.



November 2, 2004, 5:58 PM

Franklin, as someone who does not believe in official affiliation with or "belonging to" any political party, who would not think of displaying any political bumper stickers, buttons or placards anywhere, and who feels one's politics should not be gratuitously foisted on anyone else, I object to today's visuals. It doesn't matter if you're pro-Kerry or pro-Bush; it's inappropriate either way. There's already far more than enough of this stuff all over the place, and you've accomplished nothing except to tell us how you're voting, which we knew anyway. Next time, resist the urge.


Phil Isteen

November 2, 2004, 6:07 PM

Oh, Jack. Don't get your tube socks in a twist.

I commend Franklin for taking a stand and
letting his opinion be known - isn't that a
big part of this, Franklin's blog....Franklin's



November 2, 2004, 6:37 PM

PI, this is an ARTblog, officially designated as such. I do not come here for Franklin's views on food, gardening or politics, fascinating though they may be. If it's not clearly arts-related, I don't want to see it here.



November 2, 2004, 6:46 PM

Jack - did I hear you say "official"?



November 2, 2004, 7:09 PM

Ok, for one day only we will change the wording on your card to:


It's all CACA anyway.



November 2, 2004, 7:57 PM

Yes, Franklin. You named this blog just as your parents named you. It is officially ARTblog just as you're officially Franklin Einspruch.

If I seem hypersensitive about this issue, it may relate to my being way beyond fed up with artistic and/or celebrity types who presume to lecture me about absolutely anything other than what their talent (assuming they have any) qualifies them to do. I have serious problems with such presumptuousness. In other words, if you're, say, a great actress or singer, by all means perform for me, but please, do NOT assume I want, let alone need, anything else from you. I don't care how famous you are; you do NOT have the right to impose on me.


Phil Isteen

November 2, 2004, 8:04 PM

Yeah. Lets go cut up and burn that stupid Guernica painting.

And don't get me started about those wretched Goya drawings.

And... :0



November 2, 2004, 11:37 PM

Phil: Actually Guernica is not a very good picture. But if I owned it I would not cut it up.



November 2, 2004, 11:57 PM

Uh, Phil, what Picasso and Goya were doing in the instances you cite was using their artistic talents to make art. That is certainly not what I was talking about, and I regret you misinterpreted me.


that guy in the back row

November 2, 2004, 11:57 PM

Glad you still have your sense of humor Franklin! That was unexpected.


Jerome du Bois

November 3, 2004, 12:18 AM


As you have gently and correctly reminded me in the past, the subtitle of your blog is "the chronicles of an artist in the world." Some of your more arrogant and presumptuous readers might look at that line as they log on.

By the way, Zendog, I think you'll need a looong meditation in the morning. Me, I'm chilling my Moet & Chandon for the Re-Election Celebration. Hah!

Your friend in the desert,

Jerome du Bois

Haw! I reloaded before posting. You know where that guy's thumb's going to be in the morning.



November 3, 2004, 1:00 AM

Jack, I think that you have just as much right to steam up this blog as Franklin has to say what he wants to say. That goes for all of us human beings who think and have opinions on top of what we are "qualified" to do. I think you can tune out what you have to, or get all worked up about it. That's really your choice.



November 3, 2004, 1:05 AM

That Franklin can post whatever he likes on his blog, from art to zen, has never been in question. What he chooses to post, and the suitability or desirability of his choices, is another matter. Since he has indicated on multiple occasions that he wants input and feedback from readers, such feedback is legitimate. What he does with it is obviously up to him.



November 3, 2004, 1:06 AM

Yes. Artists should shut up and perform/paint and refrain from talking about their not-explicitly-art-related opinions in public, but hoity-toity, hoochy poochy, opinionated collector dudes may always "impose" their own views on someone else's blog.

"I don't want to see it here." Nyah, nyah, nyah. So just don't read it today, huh?



November 3, 2004, 1:12 AM

that was cross-posted with the above two comments from Jack and candy. Of course, both Jack and Franklin can say whatever they like, and the ability to elicit comments and feedback by people of multiple opinions is the cool thing about blogs. But some of the opinions occasionally make one feel cranky and compelled to post cranky comments.



November 3, 2004, 1:59 AM

Catfish: I agree about Guernica. Not a great painting, as such. More of a great icon. I have tried cropping it (a reproduction, of course) and I could get several better paintings out of it that way. Picasso never could handle a large painting and they just got worse as time went on. Of course if you say this in public you could get lynched.



November 3, 2004, 2:21 AM

Jerome, better take a Boone's Farm out to breathe - Moet's a bit too fine a label for drowning your sorrows. No, I shan't talk trash. It's a close race, although Zogby's predicting a pounding on your guy. Incidentally, you will soon have a drawing headed your way, as will all other participants in the Birthday Deal.

Jack, I value your readership, and promise that come tomorrow, next day at the latest, I will return to posts on juggling. Seriously, it's "artist in the world," of course, and at times like this you get a little more world.


Jerome du Bois

November 3, 2004, 4:39 AM


We're glad to hear the news about the drawing; now we can cancel the contract with Mac The Finger.

You know, if your guy wins, we're running out to Circle K for some Boone's Farm to toast in your and his honor.

And if your guy wins, you could revive your juggling career for use in his administration!


Besides, tonight it's Jose Cuervo, for once in four years . . . Uh-oh, it's getting drunk outside.

JdB & CK


Jerome du Bois

November 3, 2004, 3:52 PM

Zogby went crispy, I guess.

Thank you, Florida!

Mmm . . . champagne.




November 3, 2004, 3:57 PM

oldpro wrote: Picasso never could handle a large painting and they just got worse as time went on.

That's how I see it too. Picasso might have done them better if he had left the absolute size of his parts the same as it is in his smaller pictures, thus having many more "parts" in the large ones. Instead he scaled the whole thing up, as if projecting a small image on a large canvas. Result was the enlarged parts broke apart from each other. In fact Guernica has fewer parts than many of his typical sized pictures.

Art plays its tricks.



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