Previous: Geometry Friday (25)

Next: Nihilism as mannerism (262)

Happy birthday

Post #1172 • May 5, 2008, 8:11 AM • 33 Comments turns five years old today - I put up the first post on May 5, 2003. It would not have gone on like this as a rant into the digital aether, as the About page once said, except that the aether ranted back. For this I thank you. I adore this community, which provides me with better discussion about art than I can find anywhere, calls me out on my failings of art and logic with a perfect blend of sympathy and force, and has caused me to think harder and more thoroughly about the key matters of artistic life than I ever would have troubled myself with on my own. Participation here and in the wider community of art bloggers has honed my thinking to a sharpness that a typical career in art writing, as one would have practiced it in the 20th Century, would have never exacted.

I have learned not to speculate on the future of, however I wax inclined to do so at milestones like these. Something unlike my speculations invariably comes to pass. I don't mind talking about the present, though, and I have been saving an announcement for today: the college which brought me out here to Orange County to teach and handle academic technology decided not to renew my contract for the fall. Supergirl and I have spent the last several weeks weighing our options, which thankfully we have. Bouncing ideas off of some helpful, kindly people in New York in March (you know who you are) has proved invaluable.

We have two decisions to make: what we are going to do professionally, and where we are going to do it. Regarding the latter, we have some extraordinarily kind invitations to come back east, to go north, and to stay in the area from various denizens thereof. Each location offers enticing advantages. I have a little more clarity regarding the former decision: whatever else I have to do to make it work, I'm renewing my commitment to painting and drawing, which only strike me ever more full of awe. Go See Art will likely provide part of the solution to making this viable.

We have some definite plans though. This summer, at the beginning of August, we're doing a road trip up the California coast, to Portland and then Seattle. From there we go to Edmonton, Alberta, for my solo exhibition at Common Sense Gallery in late August, at the kind invitation of the North Edmonton Sculpture Workshop and its worthy proprietors. We'll toodle around up there (Jasper is in the area, as are some talented artists), pick a direction, and move in it. As nebulous as it is, I somehow can't imagine a better way to start off the next five years of




May 5, 2008, 8:29 AM

Didn't renew your contract??? Why the hell not? It seemed to me that the whole thing was a perfect fit. Are they just as stupid as all the other places?



May 5, 2008, 8:37 AM




May 5, 2008, 8:38 AM

Without going into details I'd rather not get into on the blog, the fit didn't turn out to be as good as we all thought it would be. They've made a reasonable decision, and expressed considerable regret in making it; that it didn't play in my favor doesn't denigrate its intelligence or appropriateness. I have received a lot of positive feedback on my work there, and they have offered to support me enthusiastically in future endeavors to the extent that they can.



May 5, 2008, 9:18 AM

Thereunto,'s first-ever(?) international commentor meet-up will be in Edmonton at the NESW's Common Sense gallery on the evening of August 22nd.



May 5, 2008, 9:22 AM

I am sorry to hear that you have to look for a new job. Change is always difficult but a new equilibrium will eventually be reached in a new place.



May 5, 2008, 9:50 AM

Good luck with five more years...Cheers!



May 5, 2008, 10:25 AM

i skimmed 50+ posts from #1 looking for the first commenter. Did the comments evaporate or did no one start responding until much later?



May 5, 2008, 10:28 AM

Franklin, I think this will turn out for the better. The job may have been good in purely practical or financial terms, but I was never convinced it was such a good fit otherwise. I'm sure this is still disruptive and thus entails a certain amount of discomfort and distress, but I expect you'll wind up better off.



May 5, 2008, 10:29 AM

The old beta version of Textpattern that I used to use as a CMS took a dump on me. I was able to get the comments offloaded into a giant XML file, but nothing I could repost. I may finally have enough programming skill to get the old comments rebuilt and back on the record. We had some good times and it would be fun to revisit them.



May 5, 2008, 10:33 AM

Billermo, I could be mistaken, and even if I'm not it's not especially important, but the first commenter may have been me. If I wasn't the first, I certainly came on board at the very beginning, when it was mighty lonely around here.



May 5, 2008, 10:40 AM

I just looked it up for the hell of it. Jack was commenter #4. He's been on board ever since. Cheers, Jack!



May 5, 2008, 11:02 AM

Happy Birthday to this valuable space and thanks Franklin for keeping it going.

Good luck on your adventure but careful around those wily Canadians. You and Supergirl are welcome in Charlottesville, Virginia on your tour. If you make it here I will cook you quesidillas and you can draw with a three-year-old.



May 5, 2008, 11:05 AM

And what was Jack saying back then?

"I am not going to look at any more of this &%$#@* dreck"

True consistency.



May 5, 2008, 11:06 AM

And what was Jack saying back then?

"I am not going to look at any more of this &%$#@* dreck"

True consistency.



May 5, 2008, 11:07 AM

Franklin, it did it again. I am going to have to double check every entry, or not use preview.



May 5, 2008, 11:25 AM

Yes, your blog was worth the 5 years work, really enjoy the team here ! Great, a new challenge and new works ahead, show them here as soon as possible ! Best regards, Hans


Chris Rywalt

May 5, 2008, 12:24 PM

The house next door is going on sale soon, Franklin. We'd love to have you so close. You probably wouldn't want to have us so close, but there you go.



May 5, 2008, 1:05 PM is something i look forward to often multiple times a day. how many things can you say that about?

franklin the nomad, that gives you a lot in common with many other great artists. in the long run this will work in your favor. enjoy it.

would it help if readers made donations? do you need that or is this self sufficient?

some things that i would like to see here. interviews with artists, curators, dealers, critics (ala charlie rose) along with more in depth reviews of shows with your commentary or others. jules is gone but i always wished that you had done an interview with him and posted it. so now go after the others like noland, poons, bannard, goodnough, stella, hide, caro,keller, griefen etc. while you still can. same with dealers, critics; fried, wilkin, bingham, moffet, stewart waltzer, j. elderfield, eugene thaw etc. is that possible? does that interest you? would other readers be interested? these folks will not be around forever. you could make a book out of it.



May 5, 2008, 1:12 PM

greenberg's name may even come up.


Chris Rywalt

May 5, 2008, 1:27 PM

I tried to interview John Currin but the director at his dealer blew me off when she found out I wasn't a "real" journalist. Maybe Franklin can pretend better than I can and talk to some of these people.

I keep thinking that Stella's over in Manhattan somewhere -- I should just drop by his studio and see what he's up to. But then I realize I have absolutely nothing to talk to Stella about, especially since (as I just read in a Rosenberg essay) everything I like about his work is precisely that which Stella says is beside the point. (Apparently you're supposed to like his work for the theory behind it, not for how pretty it is.)

I have no idea why I'm posting this.



May 5, 2008, 2:06 PM

Happy Birthday! Come back to Boston!



May 5, 2008, 2:23 PM

there loss Franklin.

Your road trip and edmonton sound great.

Your clear eye and writing will make an impact wherever you go.



May 5, 2008, 4:52 PM

Franklin, I suggest you adopt some suitable troubled artist pose and let Supergirl handle everything. You'll be fine.



May 6, 2008, 6:38 AM

Congratulations and good luck, Franklin. As one of those who taught me to blog lo these many years ago, I look forward to seeing where the next 5 years will take you.



May 6, 2008, 9:36 AM has come to mean, for me, simply, "the blog" because it is such a perfect blend of statement and comment, freedom and discipline, sobriety and nuttiness, intellectualism and reality, and above all, "insight" does truly come from the incredible mix. Congratulations on five years of success.

Go north, young man, go north? Western Canada is a place worth thinking about as your next home Franklin. As tortured, torn, and maligned as the "formalists" who reside there may be, they are the only coherent group that I know of that can serve as an alternative to the "thought" that pervades the art world. As I've mentioned before, a friend asked Greenberg over drinks where he should move to, for the sake of his art. "Saskatoon" was the one word response. (Sorry Edmonton folks, but Saskatoon is a damn sight closer to you than NYC, which I think was the expected answer.)

My friend seemed desperate as only the moderately drunk can be desperate, but not that desperate, apparently, because he still lives in Lansing, MI - 20 some years later.



May 6, 2008, 11:17 AM

Very good, Catfish. I will second that.

I don't know if a hot-blooded Leo will go for the frozen north, however.



May 6, 2008, 2:13 PM

I can take it; it's my Scorpio wife who has asked not to be unduly subjected to cold. Portland, OR, is not out of the question, though. There's a certain logic to trying to stay on this coast after going through the effort and expense to get out here. Anyway, we have a few months to kick it around.

Thanks to all for the kind wishes and support.



May 6, 2008, 3:10 PM

I forgot to note the good ideas in #18. Thanks, 1.



May 6, 2008, 3:43 PM

Portland is a beautiful city. Greenberg's collection ended up there, so there must be at least some sympathy in the region.

Edmonton is in a curious position. The old guard are still here and active, but it remains to be seen if any of the emerging youngsters can get over themselves enough to really learn from a history of quality in the region. NESW, in my opinion, is the only obvious and vital sign of an address to this history by a new generation of seriously committed artists. Don't get me wrong, abstract sculpture isn't thriving in terms of a public presence. God knows our intstitutions do essentially f*ck all to promote it, but it still has some energy behind it that I'm not sure the painting shares. The legacy of the key painters in the Edmonton region of the last 30 years fares worse I think, than that of the Saskatoon painters. The reasons for this are intriguing and I would love to hear any critical voice in tease this one out a bit.


Pretty Lady

May 6, 2008, 7:40 PM

Brooklyn! Brooklyn! Brooklyn! There IS no other city!

Congratulations on five years blogging. I didn't know what a blog WAS, five years ago...although...come to think...I started my first one almost exactly four years ago. Argh. I did NOT want to think about that.


john Sanchez

May 7, 2008, 8:31 AM

Congratulations for sure! Have you thought of a book form of this blog? I am proud that you were one of my teachers and love boasting it-"yeah, Artblog? Oh you know he was one of my teachers" You rock man! Good luck.



May 8, 2008, 7:08 AM

Greenberg visited both Saskatoon and Edmonton. He called them the last bastions of formalism. He may have suggested Saskatoon over Edmonton because it has produced so many good painters including many of the best painters who now live in Edmonton.



May 8, 2008, 11:32 AM

Who would the best of these transplants be in your opinion, Noah? I'm not really up on who came from where originally or ended up where. I think Bob Scott is from Saskatchewan originally. I'm a generation behind it all, trying to make some sense of how it developed. Emma Lake seems like the original catalyst...

I kinda see Saskatoon painters having absorbed Jack Bush and Noland a little more readily, and Edmonton put more of their stock in working through Olitksi and Poons. There are of course examples that contradict this, but I think generally, by region, things developed a bit differently in each.

Of course this is the best thing to have happened as the majors listed above opened up so much fertile ground in abstract painting for everybody to follow. And it still seems wide open to me at least...



Other Projects


Design and content ©2003-2022 Franklin Einspruch except where otherwise noted