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So long, and thanks for all the palmetto bugs

Post #731 • February 15, 2006, 11:14 AM • 47 Comments

After a bit of hand-wringing, but less than you might think, I have decided to relocate in April to an as yet undisclosed location in New England. My circumstances have aligned in a manner that if I sell my house, I can devote a year, maybe more, to painting, writing, and coding, in that order of priority. I feel the necessity to do so at an early enough point in my life that it will make a difference in my career. This move also fulfills a longtime dream of mine to move to the United States of America.

Sorry! No cheap shots! I told myself that I would do this with no cheap shots. But I have to admit that Miami frustrates me more and more the longer I stay here. I feel that I have expended the professional opportunities available to me, and that the city only ever becomes more aggressive, less attractive, busier, crazier, and uncivil. I have little access to the figurative tradition that inspires my work. Common sense suggests that I should live in or near a city that has a Chinatown. Although I have the best colleagues an academic could ever hope to have and some rockstar students, I have been teaching for eleven years and the time has come for me to grant myself the sabbatical that I will never have otherwise.

Oh, and the hurricanes. That's quite enough of that, thank you.

Life here requires a particular kind of equanimity in the face of inefficiency and rudeness, especially the latter. For instance, my primary concern, when I'm driving, is to arrive at my destination with my ass still attached to the rest of my body. As such, I am completely out of sync with the majority, and as drivers here worsen, tailgating (which is insanely dangerous, illegal, and to my knowledge, has never gotten anyone pulled over in the history of the county) has become normal. I have responded by teaching myself not to look in my rear view mirror unless I'm changing lanes. I used to fear for my life when someone followed me at 70 MPH close enough for me to yank the hood ornament off of his Escalade with a single outstretched hand. Now, I assume the high-beams flooding my car interior are coming from a dance party in the back seat, or something. The cure is almost worse than the disease, but that's the price of adjusting to the deranged.

I think Miami's story has a happy ending. Eventually, increasingly busy storm cycles will blow down everything that will blow down and blow away everyone who will blow away. The remaining core will commit to the success of the city. Downtown will grow to sufficient urban density that a good public transportation system will become viable. The city's reliance on Art Basel/Miami Beach to elevate the scene, in a kind of art-world trickle-down economics, will eventually pay off; Miami's art world will be mentioned in the same breath as Los Angeles. Afterwards, but in the same breath. Craig Robins will open his grad school with the help of UM President Donna Shalala; the snub to the art department already at UM will sting the faculty into ceasing internecine warfare and building up the undergraduate program into greatness, or at least high functioning. The voters, confused as ever, will allow MAM into Bicentennial Park and Terence Riley will commence to make it into a top-ranking museum. The condo crash of '08 will stop the flight of interesting people from the county. Several more years of irritating performance by FPL after each ever-more-frequent hurricane will become a cross-party, government-wide political liability, and finally something will be done about the stability of the grid. I give it all, oh, twenty years.

By that time I will be creeping up on sixty instead of forty. I hope to have an art career I can feel proud of, a few books under my belt, and a website that contributes to the whole country in a way that I think it has contributed to Miami. If I stay, it won't happen. If I leave, now, it might.

As mentioned when I implemented the recent design changes at Artblog.net, I have big plans for the site. This move is part of them. I want to write about the art getting shown in New England and the Mid-Atlantic. If at all possible, I'd like to go even further afield. (Yo, Ahab!) I plan to fold Go See Art into an Artblog.net calendar section and make it multi-city. I have ideas for revenue opportunities that will help the site support itself without blocking content or participation or junking up the design. I feel like I'm just scratching the surface with the possibilities of Artblog.net publications. I want to introduce AJAX functions - how would you like the left-hand sidebar to update itself without your doing anything, or be able to open the comment form without reloading the page? (Mwuhaha.) But most importantly, I'd like to make the part of the site that you come here for even better. People with a taste (and the stomach) for the money and social angles of the art world are already covering those topics pretty well. I want to concentrate on the art, and to push the writing so that it holds up not just as good art writing, but as good writing, period. (I keep thinking: What would Fairfield Porter blog about?)

My new home has access to beautiful museums, fall colors, a long history, a little bit of a social network already in place, and great comic book stores. Every metropolis from Portland, Maine, to D.C. is a day trip by plane or car. I have already considered the possibility that the difficulties I experience down here come from my critical nature - that I will dislike my new home city just as much, and on top of it, I'll be cold, and have none of my old friends. If that comes to pass, I will comfort myself with two thoughts. One, what the hell, I tried. Two, I learned an important lesson from life in Miami: don't look in your rear view mirror.

Goodbye, Miami. At times, I will miss you terribly. Thank you for all you've done for me.

Comment

1.

oldpro

February 15, 2006, 11:59 AM

Are you going to continue the Blog?

Your analysis of the situation at UM is all off. We have a reputation for "internecine warfare" but it simply does not exist, not beyond the usual academic disagreements. The "internecine warfare" idea is propagated by people who have a vested interest in doing so. We have a history of very bad support and very poor leadership in recent years, but these things have been imposed on the Department by the negligence and poor judgement of rapidly changing University of Miami administrations, not by the faculty.

The Craig Robins Botique Graduate Program for Collectible Tchotchkes and Novelties will not "sting" the faculty, it will, or it may (no one seems to have any idea what it is all about because the faculty is entirely left out of all discussions) eliminate one of the few graduate programs in the country that seriously tries to teach graduate students the craft of painting, drawing and printmaking and further reduce the department' s ability to run an effective undergraduate program, not enhance it. The faculty is, for the most part, dedicated, effective and hard-working, and they have kept the department going with high standards while laboring under the burden of conistent, ongoing bad judgement and neglect by the UM administration. If the Robins idea goes ahead as planned it may well be just one more instance of this.

2.

Franklin

February 15, 2006, 12:21 PM

I'm glad to hear that the situation at UM has improved since I was a graduate student there. For the record, I have no vested interest in propogating the department's reputation one way or the other, although I happen to feel that I received an excellent education there.

Yes, Artblog.net will continue, like it is, but better. I'm surprised to see the question asked in light of the paragraph starting "As mentioned..." Is that not clear?

3.

ahab

February 15, 2006, 12:53 PM

Ahoy and avast, Ishmael himself set sail from Nantucket. But that's in Massachusetts, not New England.

May you continue to write their stories long after the Captain Ahabs of art have gone down, Franklin.

4.

that guy

February 15, 2006, 1:25 PM

Good luck Franklin. I'm sure your friends will come visit you when the temperature rises above freezing.

5.

oldpro

February 15, 2006, 1:32 PM

Sorry. It's a lot of reading and I skimmed it. It is very busy here right now.

6.

Marc Country

February 15, 2006, 1:36 PM

Yo Ahab... Massive-two-shits is IN New England... and, my money's specifically on Boston as the undisclosed locale.

Congrats on the big move Franklin... looking forward to meeting you when you dock in Ahab's port.

7.

catfish

February 15, 2006, 1:37 PM

Feels like you are doing the right thing for yourself.

8.

Harlan Erskine

February 15, 2006, 1:41 PM

oldpro,

what the story with "The Craig Robins Botique Graduate Program for Collectible Tchotchkes and Novelties"? why do you name it such? It seems like you hate it before it even exists. I don't know too much about it but I can imagine it can't be that bad it seems like it could be a really good thing but I don't know what's going on so that why I ask. maybe you can link to some articles? I also find it interesting and maybe a little insulting that you leave photography out of the Art program.

9.

Harlan Erskine

February 15, 2006, 1:43 PM

sorry to see you go Franklin may you find what you are looking for.

10.

essej

February 15, 2006, 1:52 PM

My guess is you're coming to Portsmouth, NH. If I am correct you have chosen well. I am looking forward to seeing how artblog does once it has been transplanted to New England. I think it will do even better here.

11.

oldpro

February 15, 2006, 1:56 PM

We have photography graduate and undergraduate degrees and a full and functioning program, Harlan.

Nobody knows what is going on. The faculty has been told nothing except a visit from President Shalala a long time ago which had almost no information attached. Their primary advisor, Bruce Ferguson, Was quoted in the Miami Herald that we should be promoting a lot more than "just" the traditional mediums and spoecifically mentioned an artist who had bred rabbits that glow in the dark. Our "liason" to the project is self-appointed and tells us nothing. The whole procedure has been demeaning to the department and the people who have worked so hard to hold it together, and reasonable speculation is that the primary interest shown by the administration is based not on educational values but by the appearence of deep pockets and lots of high-placed art swingers who think traditional art education is unfashionable (as indeed it is) and that some kind of high-profile collector-friendly program might help bump UM up in the US News rankings.

So I am worried, OK?

12.

George

February 15, 2006, 2:01 PM

F. you'll get to like the cold and there's no weather on the internut.
I suspect a change in your physical local will add also add some new readers/commentors, can't be a bad thing. See ya, around.

13.

Bethea

February 15, 2006, 2:40 PM

Congratulations1 You'll be missed in Miami, but a very good move indeed.

14.

James W. Bailey

February 15, 2006, 3:26 PM

Dear Franklin,

Your decision to leave Miami will be a major loss for that city. Your local chamber of commerce should have been paying you all this time for what you've done to raise the visibility of Miami among large numbers of your readers. The loss of your voice there is no doubt going to be missed by many. I wish you all the best.

James

P.S.

Are you relocating to the American side, or the Canadian side of New England? :)

15.

cohen

February 15, 2006, 3:55 PM

UM is a school for wealth, the reason the art department sucks is everyone from the faculty to its students are born wealthy,, you know trust fund kids,,, (forgive me all those who aren’t on the fund out there at UM) the combo of the fund and art making usually don’t breed any thing worth a shit… what do people make art about when your loaded … really, I hope Craig Robbins hops in there and attracts even wealthier students, like say the prince of whales, Can you imagine teaching the prince of whales how to paint,,, what would he paint,,, Frank your contributions to this city’s art world will be very missed. Miami really isn’t fun when you’re not Cuban. I hope im invited to the go away party, good luck

16.

Kent Standit

February 15, 2006, 4:05 PM

We’ll miss you sorely, old dear. Of course, as you yourself pointed out, the colder climate will encourage you to think more profundly -- gracious, is that even possible? -- as well as more often. But don’t kid yourself about the driving. The city of Boston boasts the most aggressive drivers on the east coast with the possible exception of Jersey, where they tailgate so close your own farts get blown back up your ass by the radiator fan of the car behind you. Which kinda describes blogging.

17.

Hans

February 15, 2006, 4:11 PM

...I dont know if your move to New England is radical enough for all the changes you want. Maybe consider Tbilisi in Georgia ? To buy a nice appartment in town you'll need USD 30.000, in the countryside you get one for 5000. No storms here, the climate exact between Florida and New England, good food, nice mountains,nice girls (also important), the Black Sea, intelligent and decent people. For figurative painting masses of inspiration and in the end Tbilisi needs at least one professional Gallery with good contacts in the art world to promote its Georgian talents. For the blogging and the internet communication it makes no difference anymore in fact, where you sit. But, the driving is maybe worse than in Florida ;-( Just for the fun, probably you decided for New England already. I think you do a good move to change circumstances from time to time, I always admired the mobility of Americans and also their ability to set new facts !

18.

Franklin

February 15, 2006, 4:16 PM

I don't mean to be secretive about the destination - I just haven't picked yet. I selected a circle of one hour's commute from Boston. But it's not like here - an hour's drive out of Boston could put you into any of four different states. I'm open to suggestions as I investigate over the next month. Portsmouth, eh? I have a reader in Portsmouth? Cool.

19.

oldpro

February 15, 2006, 5:31 PM

"Trust fund kids"? "Prince of Whales?"

What planet are you from, Cohen?

20.

ahab

February 15, 2006, 6:17 PM

Yo yo Ma...rc Country.

And I thought I had learned all 50 states and their capitals in grade eight at my Canadian private school, which had an American curriculum. My teens were obviously an especially confusing time. Sincere, red-faced apologies to all New Englanders (past, current, future or honourary) for the silly error.

And by "private school" I don't mean to imply that I had an upperclass "prince of whales" education of privelege - it was 10 kids in the church basement. But to prove that I'm finally learning something by reading Artblog.net, that's a fallacious argument of the appeal-to-sympathy sort.

P.S. If you could all avoid my "port," I'd appreciate it.

21.

eddie

February 15, 2006, 6:46 PM

franklin, i moved to jersey from miami last year and i have to say, i am thinking more clearly than ever when it comes to art. however, i credit this to a change of pace more than a change of place. somewhere in all the hoopla of moving and getting to know a new town i got more focused on my work. it doesn't make much sense but thats how it worked for me.
anyway i still visit miami, think its as great a place to make art as anywhere and even plan to move back, possibly this year. so I hope you still cover the south florida scene as much as you can.
the winters are pretty crazy up here but i like the cold, the change of seasons, and the inspiration it provides. good luck with the move, the noreasters, the blizzards, and the paintings.
Prediction: your work will benefit greatly, miami will not.

22.

eddie

February 15, 2006, 6:48 PM

p.s. keep us informed of your openings, i would love to drive over and check it out

23.

that guy

February 15, 2006, 7:58 PM

As an accused trust fund kid. I have to say I've yet to meet a really rich art student here yet. Although I must add that I agree in principle that the art market is best left to to rich and crusty. They "normally" have a better eye for luxury items, because art certainly is. In my experience the artist students at UM have to cultivate the eye without the trust fund or their parent's blessing.

24.

Misc

February 15, 2006, 11:20 PM

As much as I enjoy to drop by from time to time here and follow posted topics, occsionally, discussions regarding Miami art scene were boring, frequently petty, and provincial to us who don't relate to place called Miami. When I was reading those posts the only missing items was a sound of plucking chicken in the background. Local art scene problems are OK If they are in context of larger issues beyond local village politics. I, think, Mr Franklin, you have audience all over the US so please be more worldly in the future. Congratulation, anyway, for one of the best blogs for artist and thanks for your efforts.

25.

sassafras droll

February 16, 2006, 12:31 AM

i really don't think the miami art scene will be affected by franklin's absence.
i don't see how it could..as long as artblog.net continues its existence its affect will have the same impact. \

This blog is not a barometer of the miami art scene. It does not have a pulse on the larger goings-ons.

rather, it reflects a narrow microcosm of artists and art professionals that can't seem to see that solpicism (and clement greenburg and modernism ) are not conditionins to aspire to.

That said,good luck to franklin. you do this blog thing well...looking forward to reading your books.

26.

Gigi

February 16, 2006, 1:01 AM

Franklin,

I lived in Newport, Rhode Island several years ago---it's gotten too touristy now, but I loved
New England. NYC: 5 hours away; Boston: 45 minutes--all the small sea port towns--
lobster lunches by the town fisherman, and AUTUMN!
I love your brave spirit--just packing up and going, who knows where, really?

You mentioned that you were planning to keep your blog, only evolve it. How long
will your blog be down?

Congratulations on your move. Best of luck.

Gigi

27.

jordan

February 16, 2006, 5:49 AM

28.

jordan

February 16, 2006, 5:53 AM

-a single tree...
see you soon...
maple leaf.
bloom.

29.

JL

February 16, 2006, 7:04 AM

For instance, my primary concern, when I'm driving, is to arrive at my destination with my ass still attached to the rest of my body. As such, I am completely out of sync with the majority

I'm sorry to say that on this point, you will find little change once you move - especially around Boston. But here's a welcome in advance.

30.

oldpro

February 16, 2006, 7:15 AM

I admire Greenberg, Sassafras, but "solpicism", whatever that may be, has never been an aspiration.

And I do not believe Franklin has ever aspired to be a barometer with a "pulse to". His blog has opinion, a point of view. It is not the evening art news.

31.

James W. Bailey

February 16, 2006, 12:12 PM

Dear Franklin,

I was hoping it wouldn't come to this - but I've bought your home and have filed an emergency ex parte motion to keep you in Miami! :)

James

IN THE JUSTICE COURT OF MIAMI

IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF DADE, STATE OF FLORIDA
CASE NO.: 021606

EX PARTE MOTION TO STAY EVICTION ORDER

The Right Reverend James W. Bailey
Plaintiff/Owner

vs.

Franklin

Defendant/Tenant.

MOTION

Based on the following affidavit and the file in this action, Owner (The Right Reverend James W. Bailey) requests pursuant to Florida law that this court to stay the eviction order to remove Tenant (Franklin) entered on (Date) 16 February 2006 and asserts that good cause exists to stay said order.

AFFIDAVIT
STATE OF FLORIDA
COUNTY OF DADE

I, The Right Reverend James W. Bailey, declare under penalty of perjury that the statements of this affidavit are true:

1.I am the Owner of the home in the above referenced matter where Franklin resides as Tenant.

2.An eviction order dated 15 February 2005 was granted by this Court to Tenant Franklin of the referenced home.

3.On 15 February 2005 I received a a copy of the eviction notice.

4.I am not attempting to delay the proceedings by filing this motion, nor am I filing it for frivolous reasons.

5.Compelling reasons exist to delay the eviction of Tenant Franklin and to hold him in bond pending trial in Miami, County of Dade, State of Florida, namely that Franklin and Artblog.net are major cultural assets to the community of Miami and that Miami cannot afford to lose them.

DATED this 16 day of February, 2006.

Signature
The Right Reverend James W. Bailey

SIGNED and SWORN to before me by The Right Reverend James W. Bailey this 16 day of February, 2006, at my hospital bed.

Harry Whittington
NOTARY PUBLIC

WITNESSED BY:
Vice-President Richard B. "Dick" Cheney

32.

Marc Country

February 17, 2006, 3:56 AM

So, Franklin might move to Nantucket,
saying "Maybe, with any luck, it
will boost my career,
so sorry, my dear,
but the rest of Miami can suck it!"

33.

jordan

February 17, 2006, 5:08 PM

Marc Roder, is that you?

34.

Franklin

February 17, 2006, 5:11 PM

No outing, Jordan.

Okay, I admit it - that Nantucket poem made me laugh.

35.

oldpro

February 17, 2006, 8:55 PM

Here's another one, Marc

FRANKLIN THOUGHT HE WOULD GAIN
BY MOVING WAY UP TO MAINE.
BUT HE'LL RUE THE DAY
WHEN IT'S SNOWING IN MAY
AND DRIZZLING SLEET AND COLD RAIN

AND BLURRING HIS VISION WITH FOG
AS THE FIRE CONSUMES HIS LAST LOG
HE STARES AT HIS SCREEN
AT COMMENTS UNSEEN
HIS FINGERS TOO FROZEN TO BLOG

AND THE WORDS SLOWLY FORM IN HIS BRAIN
NEW ENGLAND IS NOTHING BUT PAIN
I'M A DAMN FOOL
TO BE QUITE THIS COOL
I GOTTA MOVE BACK DOWN AGAIN

36.

JULIE P

February 17, 2006, 10:51 PM

Hey Franklin, haven't seen you much this quarter.. just wanted to wish you luck on your move, and say thanks, keep in touch.

37.

Maud

February 18, 2006, 12:41 PM

As an expat Miamian living in Brooklyn, I've got to tell you, this limerick isn't too far off (although we're having an extremely mild winter this year).

AND BLURRING HIS VISION WITH FOG
AS THE FIRE CONSUMES HIS LAST LOG
HE STARES AT HIS SCREEN
AT COMMENTS UNSEEN
HIS FINGERS TOO FROZEN TO BLOG

Good luck, Franklin. Let me know where you land.

38.

George

February 18, 2006, 12:58 PM

Mild yes. We had 26 inches of the white stuff, temps boomeranged to 50 and it all melted in 3 days. Seasons are nice.

39.

Marc Country

February 19, 2006, 12:05 AM

I figured you would have prefered a haiku, Franklin, but given my Irish heritage (and, mostly, because 'Nantucket' just begs for it) I decided a limmerick was more in order.
I'm glad you enjoyed it...plus, I figure I should get points just for not swearing (which, again, 'Nantucket' begs for).

I don't know who Marc Roder is, but as far as 'outing' goes...

I admit, I used to go by the handle "Matty", but a few people here started givin' me the cold shoulder, so I decided to switch it up a little... but now, Alesh is kindly responding to my comments, and hell, even craigfrancis has paid me a compliment, so I figure it's safe to come clean.

I propose a toast...Here's to new beginings!

40.

msquoted

February 19, 2006, 2:55 AM

*holds up a shot of tequilla*

To New Beginnings!

41.

oldpro

February 19, 2006, 8:00 AM

Matty was meaner and more formidable than Marc, Marc. Too bad he left.

42.

Cat

February 19, 2006, 9:55 AM

All Blessings in your upcoming adventure.
I miss New York & all of New England.
Can't wait to see your new work.

43.

craigfrancis

February 19, 2006, 7:39 PM

i figured it out awhile ago Marc. I'm a big fan of word games... particularly anagrams.

44.

alizarin

February 20, 2006, 3:14 PM

I'm a painter originally from MD, Institute grad, living on 3rd st in manhattan near tomkins s. p. and Houston. I find it amazing that someone would move from flarda, as we say, to Boston. Is there a minor trend w/ this since it's not the 1st time i've heard this in a while? I know some seattle people coming back and as well three former Californian's.

My other question: when u say figurative, do u mean u do work that is of an object/human that does not use the filter of photographic media to screen or pre-bias your image? Another way to say this, do u rely on your observation of the subject as opposed to working from photo's or quoting a photo directly?

I don't think your move from one major urban culture to a old urban culture will b culture shock. Not like moving from nyc to Nebraska.

45.

Franklin

February 20, 2006, 5:29 PM

I wish someone would track the movement of artists. I don't know if it's a trend. I've mostly heard the reverse - people fleeing NY for their lives. Nobody in my life is making a move like this. I felt for the sake of Artblog.net that I needed to move into the art belt running from Boston to DC. I've visited those cities, Philly, NYC, upstate NY, Baltimore, and Providence. Boston/Prov felt like the right vibe. I liked Philly a lot. Upstate has some beautiful areas. It was a tough choice, but all these places are pretty close together and it's pretty easy to visit any of them from any other.

By "the figurative tradition that inspires my work" I mean the whole line of painterly figurative painting that comes out of Raphael to Rembrandt, goes through Delacroix to the Impressionists, reappears in the Bay Area Figuration movement, and finds its most current form in the so-called School of London. That's a rough outline, anyway. I like a lot of other art as well.

I don't expect it to be much culture shock. I have a little network up there to help me adjust. I went to school in Prov. anyway.

46.

Marc Country

February 20, 2006, 9:51 PM

Cheers, craigfrancis, cheers Ms. Q!
Sorry if I've been a disappointment Dad, er, I mean Oldpro... I would say I've been playin nice for the sake of healthy discourse, but it's probably just that Matty had more time on his hands last summer than Marc has had in a while... But, I'm vactioning in the beautiful US of A at the moment, and sitting poolside reading this trashy art-world gossip beats Danielle Steele anyday.

47.

Kate

February 21, 2006, 7:17 PM

Franklin:
I wish you the best.... I have just moved from Miami to NC... the seasons are wonderful, living without eyes glued to the TV during hurricaine season is a huge relief and saves lots of time that can then be spent in the studio. It is great to have major cities within driving distance, and the art scenes are more serious and less about partying...the people who attend the openings are generally there because they care about art. After only 6 months, I have lost most of the bitterness that I acquired from daily navigations through Miami and witnessing the Miami "art scene". I have always thought that we should have at least 3 or 4 lives in our one life, and, when I was in Miami, it was very easy to look around and see what my life was going to become if I stayed there. Shake things up!! I look forward to hearing of your happiness and the inevitable accelerated blossoming of your career...... keep me on the list, Kate

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