MSB brainstorming

09 January 2007

Brandl: B.A.S. Podcast on Jeff Hoke, Museum of Lost Wonder

I, Mark Staff Brandl, have once again contributed to a "podcast" for the renowned internet art podcast sender in the US, Bad at Sports , or "B.A.S." as they are fondly known.

(For those who don't know, a podcast is a kind of download-able radio broadcast on the internet, which many people listen to on their computers or on their mp3 / iPod players, technically a "multimedia file distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds, for playback on mobile devices and personal computers." )

Link to download here.

Link to blog discussion with tab for direct listening here.

For my contribution this time, I'm discusing a work of art in book form by a California artist: The Museum of Lost Wonder by Jeff Hoke. But books are "global" anyway.

Yes, this is a book, but what a book, an artist's book, a wonder. ... It has text, paintings, cartoons, diagrams, cut-and-paste models and more, all united into one mammoth gem, a banquet for the eye, mind, soul, and imagination --- a strange amalgamation of science volume, esoteric textbook, graphic novel, painter's catalogue, psychological manual, do-it-yourself, think-for-yourself activity book and sprawling, gorgeous dream. Hoke's tome is encyclopedic, drawing on all the influences I have already mentioned, but also philosophy, astronomy, religion, biology, physics, psychology, quantum physics, and Tibetan Buddhism. That may sound scary or overwhelming --- but the true strength of Hoke's book lies NOT only in its fascinating breadth, but in the clarity with which it all fits together --- and the joy in discovery and wonder that arise in me every time I dip back into it.

This is indeed the preeminent work of art ex-Chicagoan Hoke has created, a culmination of at least 20 years of work and research, as far as I can see. It is a dazzling pièce de résistance. And one of the best works of art in any field or genre to have come from an American. A celebration of Wonder Re-Found.

His web site is

Where there is an interactive tour of the museum. It's a freebie people can enjoy ---something fun without buying the book.


schakim said...

I think, the interactive tour of the museum isn't a new idea, but it's really interesting to follow the topics which are mentioned. Thank you for the link!


Mark Staff Brandl said...

Maybe you don't understand --- an interactive tour of a museum, even a museum itself is certainly not "new" --- it is the idea of this musuem, and the fact that it only exists in Hokes mind, and then yours when you read the book, etc., that is so amazing. The idea of a musuem unifying, not dividing, and centered on QUESTIONING, not answering. PAinting is also not new, but each new painting can be. It has all to do with WONDER in Hoke's case, and an amazing, virtuosity of thinking, not some cute newness. Check it out in that light, as a critique of our ways of (dividive) thinking.