Franklin Furnace has been “making the world safe for avant-garde art” since 1976. That was the year that outsider/performance artist Martha Wilson founded the institution with the intention of promoting marginalized and unpopular forms of art which often ignored or even shunned by mainstream arts organizations. Art “at the bottom of the food chain” as they call it.
Franklin Furnace is actually considered a “virtual institution” these days. Although they do a lot of “in the flesh” work, especially programming with local artists in NYC, their chief means of education is not tied to any tangible real estate, but to its resources, made accessible by electronic and other means.
Over the past 30-some years, FF has played host to some of my all-time favorite artists and performers, such as Barbara Kruger, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Y Pants, Jenny Holzer… the list goes on. If I may say so… we need more spaces like this on the West Coast. (Shout out the Institute for Unpopular Culture! RIP.)