MSB brainstorming

07 November 2016

Dr Great Art Podcast Episode 2: "Art Mottos, Modernism and PoMo" and PoPoMo

My second, newest, Dr Great Art podcast is now up and ready to be listened to! "Art Mottos, Modernism and PoMo" and PoPoMo. 6 minutes. Fun art history facts and commentary.
or on iTunes podcast app store,!-short-fun-art/id1167011656?l=en


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

Dr Great Art Podcast Two

"Art Mottos, Modernism and PoMo"

Hi this is Mark Staff Brandl, with the second "Dr (Great) Art" brief podcast. I hope you enjoy it and come back for each and every one.
Today we have a short Artecdote about mottos, titled "Art Mottos, Modernism and PoMo."

Mottos are, of course, pithy little phrases meant to summarize the general, overriding idea of an individual, social group or organization, art movement etc --- including in our case today whole art periods. They are, then, of course, superficial, yet can be quite perceptive.

'motto' is derived from the Latin muttum, 'mutter', by way of Italian motto, meaning 'word', 'sentence'.

In the Middle Ages and heraldry, they are also known as "rallying cries."

One of the most famous, which borders on a maxim is " Where there’s a will, there’s a way." Also a heraldic Motto is " Aim high."

In art, the Renaissance could be summed up as "Go back to the Antique to go forward, that's rebirth."

What I want to mention today is perhaps the most famous art motto of all time:

The slogan of Modernism was Ezra Pound's "Make it new. "

This itself was at least partially the product of historical recycling. But that is a topic for another discussion.

Make it new. A wonderful idea. The most durably useful of all modernist expressions of the value of novelty. It helps define ModernISM and cleared away a lot of the awkward, mannerist copying of Academicism.

'Make It New' became a model of change, of renaissance and renewal. It brought us revolutionary techniques, composition and thought. No demonstrations of boring old academic ideas in stolen Raphael clothing, no endless kings, history, mythological or religious pantomimes.

And YET! "Make it New!" became old. Even new was no longer new. The endless striving for newness in many artists became mere production of Novelties in the worst sense.

In the sense that 'Novelty' can mean a range of small manufactured goods, such as useless, trendy collectables, gadgets and executive toys.

Rather than making "Make it New" New again, many Postmodernists decided to use the fact of lack of newness as an element of meaning. Highly creative, however cynical. Yet unfortunately, many also hypocritically demand that their lack of newness be heralded as something great and new. It becomes all about the marketing of the illusion of newness. The illusion of intellectuality. Verbose justifications for lack of creativity. Not really being smart, but rather being cunny, crafty, clever. Careerist Sophistry.

Thus I assert that the unspoken slogan of Postmodernism is "Make it clever."


In a related summation, art historian Andrei Molotiu says that Modernism is Self-Reflexivity, Postmodernism Self-Referentiality. But that should be discussed on its own in a future podcast!


How do we get beyond this, Postmodernist "Make it clever" as it is clearly only an academicist and mannerist ploy in a weak, transitional period?

I suggest a new slogan for reaching beyond Postmodernism: "Make it yours, make it matter."

Do not be conformed to the easy consensuses of this artworld, culture or time, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.

You have to "pay your dues to sing the blues," but what you have paid for is yours.

And if Postmodernism is jokingly called PoMo by artists, this is for Post-Postmodernism, whatever that will turn out to be. PoPoMo.

"Make it yours, make it matter."

Thanks for listening. That was "Dr (Great) Art" podcast number 2. 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

book me at or
find me at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

No comments: