"There is nothing more life affirming than a wall"
-Maxwell Blum, The Letters of an Industrial Horticulturalist
The Franklin Abraham started as a residential tower designed in the once fashionable Rococo-Moderne style. In the 200 years since its inception it has expanded into an amalgamated superstructure that encompasses all aspects of civic life: residential, retail, manufacturing, commercial industry, government and entertainment. It is the modern metropolis manifested in a single building.
"Maxwell Blum, an eccentric industrial horticulturalist, conceived the first designs of The Franklin Abraham during the Pale Blue Epoch of metropolitan development. His ambition was to build a residential environment around vast indoor gardens of poisonous vegetation. Although only one garden remains today it is considered one of most exquisite in the northern hemisphere.
Maxwell Blum Jr., who, assisted by M.S. Cambridge's invention of the light-indentation rapid transit system, initiated the first phases of light manufacturing and shopping arcades within the building. In the years to come the massive zoning emancipation would allow for independent developers to build additions to the original structure without governmental interference, yielding
the largest expansion of square footage in history. The Franklin Abraham currently houses two million inhabitants is a mile and half wide, two miles long and, in places, over 150 stories tall. It is the primary manufacturer of LaVista soft drinks, Footwear by Alexander, CoreGuy Air Circulation products and Narco Moisturizer. It contains the largest shopping center in the world, two casinos,
a bustling 24 hour television production studio, and an advanced omnidirectional electromagnetic elevator system."
-Zachary Shamban, Ajax Index of World Architecture
Andrew Kreps Gallery is pleased to present Jonah Freeman's The Franklin Abraham, the artist's fifth solo exhibition at the gallery. This exhibition renders two distinct representations of The Franklin Abraham: a film and an installation.
The film is a series of chain-linked dramas that brings us through the varied socioeconomic strata of the building. A despondent teenage girl and her older newspaper-stealing boyfriend; a timid office worker on a date with a sinister-looking romeo; bored, subterranean youth gangs; the tribulations of the family/mega-corporation that own the building; an enraged anarchist, a moisturizer-huffing bartender and her angry patrons. The segments focus on the banal details of everyday life while simultaneously implying the gargantuan scale of the building.
The installation offers an arrangement of ephemeral material collected from the Franklin Abraham - advertisements, newspaper clippings, historical imagery, product display consoles and theatrical light environments.