Panorama view of exhibition in Jedlitschka Gallery, Zurich.

Panorama view of exhibition in Jedlitschka Gallery, Zurich.

15 July 2017

My Metaphor(m), a free e-book, art documentation



Get your free e-pub version of the documentation book (called "artists' catalogues" in the jargon) of my huge painting-installation at Jedlitschka Gallery in Zurich, Switzerland based on my PhD dissertation.

I recommend NOT using Microsoft Edge to read it (which Windows computers tries to use immediately), as it eliminates the cover and puts the double page spreads wrong. MY favorite for its visual effect is the program "Cover" (also free), originally intended for comics. (http://www.frenchfrysoftware.com/cover/)

Here is the publication! (c), tm and all that 2013, 2017 Mark Staff Brandl
I hope you enjoy it! Right click, download, then read in your viewer:
http://www.markstaffbrandl.com/my_metaphorm_install/Brandl_My%20metaphorm_e-book.epub

Dr Great Art Episode 16: Postmodernism Exists


My newest podcast! Episode 16: Postmodernism Exists.This artecdote concerns the beginning of the period, or transitional subperiod, of art in which we now exist: Postmodernism. It cannot be talked away or ignored, nor should it be worshipped. But we are in it since 1979. It is a transitional period, true, but it is here. How it began and what it is so far.
http://drgreatart.libsyn.com/episode-16-postmodernism-exists

--- 
This is the script (not a transcript, as I change elements when recording). 


Dr Great Art Podcast Sixteen
"Postmodernism Exists"

Hi this is Mark Staff Brandl, with the 16th "Dr Great Art" brief podcast. I hope you enjoy it and come back for each and every one.

Today my Artecdote concerns the period, or transitional subperiod, of art in which we now exist: Postmodernism.

Yes PoMo exists. "PoMo" is, by the way, artists' slang for Postmodernism.
Postmodernism began in the artworld about 1979. As always, there were philosophical texts prefiguring the idea before that, stretching back to the 1960s mostly. That is indeed where the term 'postmodernism' itself came from. Such prefiguring in philosophy is quite common in art and art history, nevertheless these texts do not count as any real beginning of any trend itself. It is not part of art until it is manifested IN artworks themselves, and regularly. Furthermore, once an entity or direction of art and thought clearly exists, we always go back in time looking for antecedents. That is one of the most significant uses of history. It does NOT, however, replace actual activity and embodiment.

Therefore, as a clarification, two of the preferred precursors of Postmodern art, frequently cited by PoMo artists, are Dada, particularly Marcel Duchamp, and Pop Art, particularly Andy Warhol. That fact does NOT make them themselves "postmodern." rather "proto-PoMo."
Conflating retroactively acknowledged forerunners of a thing with the actual historical engendering of it is a logical fallacy. That, together with simple chauvinism is why Germans are wrong in claiming Postmodernism is anything after 1945. 1945 was the end of THEIR (and Europe's dominance) of art, not the end of their important participation it must be added, and certainly not the "End of Art" or anything similar. The dominance went to New York. To ignore or try to rewrite that is simple Nationalist, Continental and Cultural Chauvinism, even unacknowledged jingoism.
And while I have learned that surprisingly many do not know the term 'chauvinism' let me quickly define it. It is excessive or blind nationalism or partisanship, undue partiality or attachment to a group or place to which one belongs or has belonged. Something linked to but separate from racism. It can turn up in sexism, but that is a topic for another podcast.

All endings and beginnings are actually fuzzy. They overlap other cultural entities. History is inherently messy. Late Modernism, for example, has continued on through Postmodernism; artists doing that have produced many great works. But it is the slow ending of an important cultural and art historical period, Modernism,--- no longer the dominant force.

That said, to clearly conceive of when something begins, one needs to plainly determine operative determining properties, principles  --- or paradigms. (For that listen the last Dr Great Art podcast about fuzzy categories and paradigms.) When these are tossed overboard, contradicted, countermanded, --- something has changed drastically. When the largest group of creators do this, a new period of culture is at hand. Such as the change from Renaissance over Mannerism to the Baroque, which was slow but sure, ending in a period which at the first was as powerful as the Renaissance, yet contradicted many of its mainstay ideas --- clear, stable geometric compositions become spirals of activity, lucid color and light become dramatic chiaroscuro and so on.
But FIRST there was the transitional period of Mannerism, which I discussed in Dr Great Art podcast Nr. 9. That too, was a clear shift, one closer to our topic today, Postmodernism's beginning: irony, exaggerated spectacle, capricious "shoddy-chic" structure, unresolved technological borrowings, overly fashionable poststructuralist theorization, and so on replaced the avant-garde experimentations, solidity, revolutionary drive and so on of Modernism.

Most importantly, the rejection of sincerity and reductivism signals Postmodernism's turn away from Modernism. I welcomed the rejection of the latter, but still rue the loss of the former.
What is Postmodernism in art? Over-superficially described, it is a purposeful departure from Modernism, flavored by skepticism and irony, often associated with theory such as deconstruction and post-structuralism; it is anti-reductivist, anti-sincere, playful at best, academicist at worst. Jeff Koons and others. It is clearly a transitional period.

There are some people who claim it doesn't exist. Or better said, they believe that by avoiding or denying the term, they can somehow magically make Postmodernism go away. Sometimes I would love to have that power too, but it is not possible, and is inane denial. Others, or even sometimes the same people, particularly architects, try to confine PoMo by alleging that it is only a simple style tic, and that we will return or have returned to Late Modernism. There is no reverse on this gear box called history. We may later return to certain values of Modernism, but in new fashions. Believing the "tic" theory is blatantly sticking ones head in the sand to avoid an unpleasant change.
Indeed many of us, including me, want to get beyond it, out of it. But not by ignoring or disavowing Postmodernism.

The term 'postmodernism' first entered the philosophical lexicon in 1979, with the publication of The Postmodern Condition by Jean-François Lyotard, but reaches as I said waaaay back, to around the 1880s. For artists the beginning can be seen as 1979. Then, the term began to used to describe a turning away from Modernist architecture, an attack on the Modernist International Style. Postmodernism in architecture saw a re-emergence of surface ornament, reference to surrounding context, historical reference in decorative forms, and eclecticism, but not usually syncretism. (For a bit about eclecticism and syncretism, please listen to Dr Great Art Nr. 11 on syncretism and Easter).
At this time, the artworld was in an uproar. It was increasingly clear that Modernism had, surprisingly, indeed been a "period," not the ultimate state of culture, and furthermore that it was slowly coming to a close. Postmodernism seemed a little insipid, even unappealing at first, then later exciting as diverse anti- or retro-styles vied for the pole position. French literary theory of a Deconstructivist bent slowly became hegemonic. Architects were shocked by Philip Johnson's conversion, by Michael Graves and Robert Venturi. Critic-turned-architect Charles Jencks began writing books on Post-Modernist architecture --- then still with a hyphen, not elided in imitation of French until it became trendy.

All we artists read that stuff and the term stuck. It was true enough (it was after all AFTER Modernism in several senses) and yet seemed free and open enough. Then came the second surprise, the right-cross following the left-lead of PoMo architecture: Feminist Art! It had been gaining speed and power since the 60s, but about then it really spread to the art schools and opened all our eyes. Art from Womanhouse from 1971 on, Miriam Schapiro and Judy Chicago and others, but especially Judy's wonderful 1979 The Dinner Party  --- and "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" by Linda Nochlin, finally being taught and argued over in schools, museums, Kunsthallen, galleries, and studios everywhere! Art that CLEARLY had CONTENT! What our largely Formalist instructors had most vociferously prohibited! It was exciting! Well --- until 1985 when PoMo froze into a New Academicism. But that is a story for a later podcast. Soon.

For now, an introduction. What are the sections or movements of Postmodernist Art until now? Note: This is NOT "Stilkunde" as it has sometimes been practiced --- this is a list, from an eye-witness, of groups of artists who share, or felt they shared, important core concerns and approaches, in the order in which they gained peak attention form the artworld. Most are New York-based, until just recently, which accounts for certain dissent, as mentioned already, but this is little different from looking at the important river of movements in Europe, primarily Paris, from Impressionism through Early Abstraction and so on. True, in many of these from 1985 on, the artists are curators' and speculators' servants, but much of early art was dependant on aristocracy or the church or such earlier European power-brokers. Now the American power-brokers are capitalists, the European ones curators. That is all a theme for several future podcasts.

Let me list the "movements" of PoMo so far. As they gained world-wide "traction," attention.

1.    Postmodernist Architecture
2.    Feminist Art
3.    New Imagism
4.    Pattern and Decoration
5.    Neo-Everything (many 'Neos', "Pictures," Graffiti, etc.)
6.    Neo-Expressionism
     (incl. Neue Wilden, transavanguardia)
7.    Neo-Geo / Appropriation
8.    Neo-Conceptualism
9.    Video-Installations
10.  Conceptual Abstract Painting
11.  Provisional "Bad" Painting
12.  Neo-Conceptualist-Events / Spectaclism (incl. Relational Aesthetics)
13.  Vernacular-Art / Street Art / Sequential Art as Fine Art
14.  Social Practice Art
15.  Sci-Art (Green-Eco-Art, Science-Art, etc.)
16.  Mongrel Art / Democratic Art
17.  Post-Postmodernismus?

1979 till now. More about dates and such in future Dr Great Art Podcast where I hope to discuss each of these individually.

For now, let's accept it. Analyze it, get hopefully get beyond it by maturing and healthifying it. Postmodernism in Art Exists.

Changes in society and economics usually must occur before art can take up a new course. Great things do not come of terrible disasters as is currently a popular ahistorical trope, but RATHER of HOPE based on the promises of new developments. We are faaaaar from there yet.

That was "Postmodernism Exists."

Thanks for listening. That was podcast number 16. If you wish to hear more cool, exciting and hopefully inspiring stuff about art history and art, come back for more. Also I, Dr Mark Staff Brandl, artist and art historian, am available for live custom Performance-Lectures. In English und auf Deutsch.

I take viewers inside visual art and art history. Entertainingly, yet educationally and aesthetically, I analyze, underline, and discuss the reasons why a work of art is remarkable, or I go through entire eras, or indeed through the entirety of art history, or look at your desired theme through the lens of art history. The lectures often take place with painted background screens and even in my painting-installations. Some recent ones were on the image of Social work in Art History, "Kunstgeschichte in Schnelldurchlauf, Sozialarbeit in der Kunst," the entire history of Postmodernist Art from 1979 through today, and Metaphor(m) in Art History.

You can find or contact me at
www.drgreatart.com
or find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all as Dr Great Art.

11 July 2017

Blues Man in the Life of the Mind, Rocker in Art

I cannot work when sad. For my art I need hope, and that gives me inspiration and energy and ideas.


I think much art, especially American, especially African-American, comes out of a Blues mentality --- but NOT 'melancholy' as thought of in the past!


Dr Cornel West describes himself as a "Bluesman in the life of the mind, and a Jazzman in the world of ideas."


I feel similarly, I am a Bluesman of the mind, a RocknRoller of painting, a sequential-artist/comicbook penciler of art history. West is an amazing inspiration to me.


17 June 2017

Dr Great Art Episode 15: Paradigms and Fuzzy Categories


My newest podcast! Episode 15: Paradigms and Fuzzy Categories.
This Dr Great Art artecdote is about a form of definitional conceptualization, paradigms and fuzzy categories, and how that is important to understanding art. http://drgreatart.libsyn.com/episode-15-paradigms-and-fuzzy-categories

--- 
This is the script (not a transcript, as I change elements when recording).

Dr Great Art Podcast Fifteen                                                    
"Paradigms and Fuzzy Categories"

Hi this is Mark Staff Brandl, with the 15th "Dr Great Art" brief podcast. I hope you enjoy it and come back for each and every one.

Today my Artecdote is about a form of conceptualization of categorizing, while holding that impulse in check.
Paradigms and Fuzzy Categories

Most people want to define things by making lists of characteristics, or in philosophical terms, 'qualities,' ---  essential or distinctive characteristics, properties, or attributes which distinguish a thing. Definition as listing the characteristics that each and every object in the category has. The dictionary approach, in a way.

Example --- A fruit: 1. any product of plant growth useful to humans or animals. 2. the developed ovary of a seed plant with its contents and accessory parts.
So, street version---  "a thing hanging on a tree or bush that you can eat. And it does not kill the plant." So that is a list: thing, hang, tree, eat, not kill. 

Not everything works this way. Some of the MOST important concepts indeed do not. And I think art is like this, indeed in the most complex way. Some concepts may even need to include their name in their meaning (art or games, e.g. exempli gratia via Wittgenstein), the big High School teacher no-no. You are told you can't say, "A fruit is anything kind of like an apple, but any other similar fruit." And yet, we often THINK that way --- and about important things. Most of all, the name may designate a kind of game situation, a sort of complex enterprise wherein the designatory rules are provisionally accepted, yet part of their use is adapting or expanding them. 

This has to do with paradigms and fuzzy categories! And that has a strong bearing on ART and how and why we understand it, or even why we sometimes do not!

A fuzzy concept is one in which the boundaries of the concept are vague, or varying, in some way, lacking a fixed, precise LIST-style meaning, without however being actually unclear or meaningless. It has a definite meaning, which we can intuit, but one including a closer definition of the context in which the concept is used.

The best known example of a fuzzy concept around the world is an amber traffic light. Nowadays engineers, statisticians and programmers often represent fuzzy concepts mathematically using fuzzy variables, fuzzy sets and fuzzy values. Since the 1970s, the use of fuzzy concepts has risen gigantically in all walks of life. It is one of the breakthroughs that will be needed for a machine to be really a thinking, AI, artificial intelligence
.
The intellectual origins of the idea of fuzzy concepts have been traced back to a diversity of thinkers including Plato, Cicero, Hegel, Marx, Max Black, Tarski, and more. The consciousness of the existence of fuzzy concepts, has been around a long time.

However, the Iranian born, American computer scientist Lotfi A. Zadeh is credited with inventing the specific idea of a "fuzzy concept" in his seminal 1965 paper on fuzzy sets, because he gave a formal mathematical presentation of the phenomenon. Zadeh also developed ideas of fuzzy logic, fuzzy sets and more.

Fuzzy sets have no clear boundaries, in short.

This is tied to the Family Resemblance Concept from Wittgenstein.

This is the idea that things which could be thought to be connected by a list of essential common features may in fact be connected by a series of overlapping similarities, where no one feature is common to ALL. Morris Weitz, an aesthetician, or philosopher of art, applied this idea to art, and I think it is indeed most fruitful there.

First though, let's visualize BIRDS quickly! Or rather a drawing of a big circle with fuzzy edges. In the middle is the bird most of us think of when we say "bird." Something like a Starling or a Robin. Beak, wings, feathers, sings, can fly, etc. But we are perfectly clear about penguins and ostriches. They are clearly birds. Yet closer to the edge of the category. Beaks. Feathers. Cannot fly. do weird things like swim or dig. And Bats are clearly flying mice, not birds, so just outside the category. And cows are nowhere near the circle or edge! Thank God they do not fly! This is overly simple, yet clear, I hope. Such are fuzzy categories with a paradigmatic center.

Paradigm (Paradigma for my German speaking friends) comes from Greek "pattern, example, sample." A concept is a generalization while a paradigm is an example serving as a model or pattern; a template.

Now think of visual art. First the fuzzy-edged circle. In the middle is some highlight of traditional art. A marble statue. A painting on a wall or other carrier. Then as you get farther out, there is installation, still relatively clear, farther performance art. Hmmm, that seems more theatrical than visual art-ish. And yet most of these artists, at least in the beginning, were clearly from the tradition and concerns of visual art --- most of the first even being made by painters! Somewhere also on the edge. Somewhere also on the edge is comics --- sequential art --- that mongrel mix of writing and drawing. Just outside the circle, even just beyond the fuzziness, is much Conceptual Art. It came out of the circle, yet shuns visuality, thus is not visual art, yet sooooo close, and indeed an art. And we are so open in this field we enjoy the near-yet-farness. Way outside is poetry. It can be highly, yet indirectly visual, even painterly. It is AN art, but not art itself, as we conceive of it in relationship to the paradigm. That is why some would insist something is NOT art, and others would insist it IS art. Both are right! and wrong! For they are trying to force a list-form category back into operation --- one expanded, but with clear edges. It ain't so. And indeed let us remember NOT to mix definitional reasoning with QUALITY judgments, the sense of judging superiority or excellence, and taste judgments, whether YOU like it. The three are separate, yet most of us sloppily want to mix them (believing, especially in such Noun-dominated languages as German, that "Art" ("Kunst") means "good art" --- there is also bad art. That whole distinction I will certainly address soon here in a future podcast. It is, by the way, an important logical insight derived from Kant and Goodman.
MANY other things work this way as well. In particular art, and its subcategories such as comics or painting. --- It is a paradigmatic conceptual category with fuzzy edges, and indeed even involves constantly redefining itself as part of its definition, --- more about that redefinition in a future Dr Great Art podcast as well. We will have occasion to refer to paradigmatic, fuzzy categories frequently in the future on Dr Great Art.

Art is a paradigmatic, fuzzy category.

That was "Paradigms and Fuzzy Categories."

Thanks for listening. That was podcast number 15. If you wish to hear more cool, exciting and hopefully inspiring stuff about art history and art, come back for more. Also I, Dr Mark Staff Brandl, artist and art historian, am available for live custom Performance-Lectures. In English und auf Deutsch.

I take viewers inside visual art and art history. Entertainingly, yet educationally and aesthetically, I analyze, underline, and discuss the reasons why a work of art is remarkable, or I go through entire eras, or indeed through the entirety of art history, or look at your desired theme through the lens of art history. The lectures often take place with painted background screens and even in my painting-installations. Some recent ones were on the image of Social work in Art History, "Kunstgeschichte in Schnelldurchlauf, Sozialarbeit in der Kunst," the entire history of Postmodernist Art from 1979 through today, and Metaphor(m) in Art History.

You can find or contact me at
www.drgreatart.com/
or find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all as Dr Great Art.
 

14 June 2017

Dr Great Art, Episode 14: "Th. Emil Homerin"



The newest Dr Great Art podcast. Episode 14: Introducing Th. Emil Homerin. An artecdote about a person: Dr Professor Th. Emil Homerin, an important, inspiring scholar of religion, especially mysticism, especially the Sufis, with significant thoughts concerning art.
http://drgreatart.libsyn.com/episode-14-th-emil-homerin


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Here is the script (NOT a transcript as I change elements while recording).

Dr Great Art Podcast Fourteen 
"Presenting Th. Emil Homerin!"

Hi this is Mark Staff Brandl, with the 14th "Dr Great Art" brief podcast. I hope you enjoy it and come back for each and every one.
Today my Artecdote is about a PERSON. In addition to artists and artworld denizens, I would like to present to my Dr Great Art audience people in other fields who I think are inspiring.

I am starting this with Dr Professor Th. Emil Homerin. That is his full name, he goes by "Emil," and is a close personal friend of mine, but as is usual for such things, I will call him "Homerin" here. I am beginning with Homerin as I feel he is significant, but also because this podcast will be first presented a bit after May 19th, both Homerin's and my birthday. 62 years old this time!

Thomas Emil Homerin is an American scholar of religion, especially mysticism, especially the Sufis: the wonderful Islamic mystical poets. Homerin is one of the most notable scholars of religion alive, I feel, although that will embarrass him. He publishes extensively, including books, essays, articles and entries in major encyclopedias such as Encyclopedia of Islam. Currently, he is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion & Classics at the University of Rochester, where he teaches courses on Islam, classical Arabic literature, mysticism, and Mt. Hope Cemetery in Rochester. More about that last fun class later. And other of his exciting projects that bear on culture and art.

Thomas Emil Homerin, generally abbreviates his first name to "Th." for publication, something I suggested to him when we were kids, when I discovered it in an old book, so blame me. Th. Is also sometimes used as the abbreviation for the Gospel of Thomas, that doubting apostle, Emil’s namesake. And 'Homerin' is the diminutive for Homer, which can mean a follower of that great poet, just as 'Brandl' is the diminutive for 'conflagration.' I like that Little Big Homer and Little Big Fire.

He is the son of two wonderful humans: Floyd and Miriam Homerin, and brother of John A. Homerin. While growing up in Pekin, Illinois, Homerin attended Douglas Elementary School, Washington Junior High School, and Pekin Community High School. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (B.A. '77, M.A. '78), and completed his Ph.D. with honors at the University of Chicago ('87). Homerin married Nora Walter in 1977, and they have two sons, Luke (born 1987), and Elias (born 1991). Nora has been a paediatric oncology nurse, which I think is one of the most difficult yet admirable jobs on Earth.

Homerin and I have a long history of friendship. We met when we were both 10 years old. A fast friendship ensued especially when we learned we were born on the same day, about 10 hours and ten miles apart. May 19, 1955. Over the past 42 years we have collaborated repeatedly on reviews, articles, comics, artworks and other areas that interest us.

A specialist in Arabic literature and Islam, Homerin has lived and worked in Egypt, Morocco, and Turkey. Among his many publications are The Wine of Love & Life: Ibn al-Fârid's al-Khamrîyah and al-Qaysarî’s Quest for Meaning, From Arab Poet to Muslim Saint and his anthology of translations, Ibn al-Fârid: Sufi Verse & Saintly Life published as part of the esteemed Paulist Press series Classics in Western Spirituality. The last of these books features a cover painting by me! Homerin also authored several chapters on Islam in The Religious Foundations of Western Civilization. Further books include the new and very exciting book translating an important female Sufi, ‘Ā’ishah al-Bā’ūnīyah’s Principles of Sufism.

AND MANY MANY more. Forgive me for my probable mispronunciations of the names.

One of the greatest things about his work is that even when he is "just" (in scare quotes) translating, he is NOT just translating. Homerin has worked very hard to become a very very fine poet in his own right, thus the translations of poetry are themselves poetry, not just simply literal redoes. One of the hardest things to do.

Death and the afterlife have been another major focus of Homerin’s work, and he has carried out field work in Cairo's cemetery. This initiated his interest in American funerary customs and practice which evolved into his course Speaking Stones on Mt. Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York. He examines and teaches about western funeral ritual and practice, with a particular focus on cemeteries in the United States, and how the iconography and epigraphy of graves and funerary monuments forge symbolic connections among the living and the dead.

Homerin has been the recipient of NUMEROUS grants and awards, which you can google, as I do not have that much time here, but they include the Fulbright Foundation, the American Research Center in Egypt, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. and prizes as a great teacher! To which I can attest.

Some of Homerin's recent exciting projects are versions of operas presented live, with a small cast for the group Table Top opera but centered on the projected drawings illustrating the operas in comic/sequential art form by the talented, and famous, P. Craig Russell. Furthermore, he has several projects in production and planning for the future, including artworks and comics with me.

Homerin has published on and off widely about art. Once again google him. He did a wonderful feature article on the series of mail-art and performances he and Nora did in collaboration with me in Egypt, published in High Performance magazine in Fall of 1981, titled "Dusk Rituals for Egypt." It was followed up by two exhibitions of paintings and relics of the performances, in Cairo and Alexandria.

I use one quotation from one of his earliest publications a lot. Including in my PhD dissertation. It shows how so much of his thought, although seemingly from a far-off field, has great bearing on contemporary artists' endeavors --- and is inspiring! Which is what I try to do with Dr Great Art.

What Th. Emil Homerin has written of metaphor and naive belief in the context of religion holds for the arts even more so. Let me read it again here:

"When a myth or belief is no longer accepted as a literal account, whether due to a period of crisis or cultural transition, it may be recast in a new form, humanizing and assimilating more primitive dimensions by the symbolic and evocative nature of metaphor. The primary symbols of a culture are then perceived and colored by the individual consciousness receiving a specific complexion over long periods of time, and their multiple, often subtle, meanings lend themselves to those religious and poetic usages whose function is to establish man's meaningful existence in a seemingly indifferent world."

I claim that certain assumptions may, following Homerin's assertion, become more useful, not less. Artworks which were previously viewed as "inspired oracles of an ecstatic saint" may now be interpreted as "profound descriptions of humanity's existential state." This is not a loss, except perhaps of naïveté, but rather a gain in understanding. I assert this transformation of literal belief into more evocative cultural metaphor is one of the chief functions of artists today.

And just wait to see what Emil and I have coming up together! And separately.

There will occasionally be other people of interest presented her on the Dr Great Art podcast.

That was "Presenting Th. Emil Homerin."

Thanks for listening. That was podcast number 14. If you wish to hear more cool, exciting and hopefully inspiring stuff about art history and art, come back for more. Also I, Dr Mark Staff Brandl, artist and art historian, am available for live custom Performance-Lectures. In English und auf Deutsch.

I take viewers inside visual art and art history. Entertainingly, yet educationally and aesthetically, I analyze, underline, and discuss the reasons why a work of art is remarkable, or I go through entire eras, or indeed through the entirety of art history, or look at your desired theme through the lens of art history. The lectures often take place with painted background screens and even in my painting-installations. most recent ones were on the image of Social work in Art History, "Kunstgeschichte in Schnelldurchlauf, Sozialarbeit in der Kunst," the image of the dog in Art History, and the entire history of Postmodernist Art from 1979 through today.

You can find or contact me at
www.drgreatart.com/

book me at www.mirjamhadorn.com

or find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all as Dr Great Art.


18 May 2017

Dr Great Art Episode 7: Art Beyond Complaint

Jan 28, 2017
A short artecdote discussing how criticism and complaint about the moribund artworld is important, but what positive things we can do to improve the situation.

Read more at http://drgreatart.libsyn.com/episode-7-art-beyond-complaint
 
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Here is the script (NOT a transcript as I change elements when recording).
 
 
Dr Great Art Podcast Seven
"What Can We Do? Art Beyond Complaint"

Hi this is Mark Staff Brandl, with the seventh "Dr (Great) Art" brief podcast. I hope you enjoy it and come back for each and every one.
Today we have a short Artecdote discussing what we can we do beyond complaint to improve the situation in art?

I find Europe in general and Switzerland in particular to be a fabulous place to live. I found New York and the Caribbean and elsewhere great too. Chicago, my hometown, was a quite stimulating city. The artworld itself in Chicago ---- or the artworld itself in my chosen beautiful home in the eastern part of Switzerland --- that is, well, another story. A story which arises here often --- and perhaps thereby it is changing.

You know the story --- whether Chicago, Switzerland, Cologne, hell even London or NYC, it's the same. Everything is "good enough" --- but that's it. We artists have hardly lived in more secure times for us financially, many of us even have a good measure of success, so my complaints are NOT sour grapes. I'm doing very well. BUT I am NOT blind and will not pretend to be so, as seems to be demanded of artists nowadays. We live in a moribund, academic, mannerist, in short kiss-ass-ly boring, artworld. And this is VERY dangerous in our new-found political world at large where populist, demagogic idiots are driving us toward a new fascism.

Don't get me wrong. Silence is indeed death. Complaint is good and necessary. But ---Beyond complaint, though --- what will be the NEXT steps for progressive, concerned artists and their allies and kin? In short:

What can we do to improve the situation in art?

First of all, make extremely high quality art. Particularly with well-honed technical abilities. If you DO NOT now have these skills, this is NO surprise as they are seldom taught in art schools any more. But GET them. That ability can not be denied nor taken away from us and will outlive many an overblown curator justification.

Second, openly criticize the situation. Step on toes. Stop kissing butt. And that means IN THE ARTWORLD as well as in the POLITICAL WORLD!

Third, offer and create constructive alternatives, even perhaps to the point of creating your own artworlds, venues and so on. Even the biggest ones are really only art-villages after all, as Paul Klein has so rightly stated. Attempt to add a positive answer to every correct criticism you level.
Fourth, encourage others who do the same. Help build critics, curators, students and especially other artists who pay attention to what is around them, who have independent minds, who are more than simply careerist toadies.
Fifth, network in a POSITIVE sense, even internationally. And that's what we are doing now. As artist Alex Meszmer says so well, "Amateur artists compete, professionals collaborate." In this, I see a possible leadership by women and so-called minorities. They have been generally excluded, thereby see the truth more clearly, --- and as we saw in the Women's March on Washington could well lead the way.

Sixth, leave doors open. Tell the truth, be upset about hypocrisy and lies and toadiness, but be willing to "let it go" if they improve, if the purveyors of pedantry and their groupies gain consciousness or make overtures toward reparation.

We may even have to create an entirely new artworld, as the Impressionists did which kick-started Modernism. Whatever is necessary, but lets start now. The political world appears more and more hopeless each day. Like my friend the great political philosopher Dr Cornel West, I have no optimism, but am addicted to hope. i think artists can do it. It begins at home in ones own neighborhood.

That was "What Can We Do? Art Beyond Complaint"
Thanks for listening. That was "Dr (Great) Art" podcast number 7. If you wish to hear more cool, exciting and hopefully inspiring stuff about art history and art, come back for more. Also I, Dr Mark Staff Brandl, artist and art historian, am available for live custom Performance-Lectures. In English und auf Deutsch.
I take viewers inside visual art and art history. Entertainingly, yet educationally and aesthetically, I analyze, underline, and discuss the reasons why a work of art is remarkable, or I go through entire eras, or indeed through the entirety of art history. The lectures often take place with painted background screens and even in my painting-installations.
You can find or contact me at
www.drgreatart.com/
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