Thursday, December 04, 2008

E

City Planners have given the area of downtown Minneapolis between Hennepin and First Avenues and 6th and 7th streets the name "block E." It was redeveloped about ten years ago into sort of a "Vegas-style" entertainment district, but without a casino. In the late sixties and early seventies it was a funky collection of scruffy businesses- steak houses, Moby Dick's bar, pool halls and porno shops. None of them could beat E Floyd's Paranoid Art Gallery for downright weirdness. Located in a half-basement right on the corner of 7th and Hennepin, his gallery stayed open for a couple of years with no apparent means of support. It was said that E scrounged stuff from the dumpsters of MCAD (a local art college) for his gallery ("found art"?) but if you went down and acted interested, E would talk about "his" art with you. E was more of a beatnik/hipster than an artist, even sporting shades and a goatee. E was about ten years ahead of the curve. Soon there would be lofts and galleries throughout the nearby warehouse district while E had disappeared without a trace.

I like to think that the city planners named the block after him:


Photo by Denny Schwartz, circa 1969

By Professor Batty



6 Comments:

Anonymous Nicole said...

I wish I could have seen Minneapolis back then. I avoid downtown as much as possible. Block E is a disgusting mecca for suburbanites going to crappy clubs, Gameworks, and over-priced corporate restaurants.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just the way I remember it... turn north, past the bus station, past the projects, north to the Blue Note, sitting outside in an old Chevy listening to that big Hammond, sax, guitar, base and drums... oh yeah!


Blogger Professor Batty said...

Nicole~ It had a charm, but it was a sleazy charm.

Anon~ You and me both. I lived a block from the Blue Note for a short time before they tore it down.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

E was a friend & neighbor....I opened a ahead shop @ 7th & Hennepin in 1968-69 & had already known E for some time when I worked @ Music City there. May have photos of him @ his girlfriend....somewhere. He was a wonderfully weird monkey....I loved his found art. His 'bathroom' was the cleanout hole in the sewer if an adjacent space. You had 2 balance on the pipe.....which gave new meaning 2 French toilets. He always seemed in a somewhat distant fog....
Jay Hamburger, of 'What's Up'
Veggieburger@jayhamburger.com


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in awe of E and the Paranoid Gallery. Didn't E also run Psychedelia at Lake & Nicollet?


Blogger Professor Batty said...

Everyone ~ Thanks for your comments! I don't know anything more about E than what I've posted here. I think Jay has more info.

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