Panorama view of exhibition in Jedlitschka Gallery, Zurich.

Panorama view of exhibition in Jedlitschka Gallery, Zurich.

28 September 2017

Dr Great Art Episode 22: Representationalism in Art


Dr Great Art podcast. Episode 22: Representationalism in Art
What constitutes representation in a work of art? The representational nature of visual art is one of its most important, fruitful, and intriguing elements --- yet for very particular reasons.

http://drgreatart.libsyn.com/episode-22-representationalism-in-art

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

Dr Great Art Podcast 22





Representationalism in Art

Hi this is Mark Staff Brandl, with the 22nd "Dr Great Art" brief podcast. I hope you enjoy it and come back for each and every one.

Today my Artecdote is a discussion of the meaning of the technique of making images that somehow look like, visually resemble, other things. You know, making pictures of things. In short, I am thinking about what representation represents.

What constitutes representation in a work of art? Discussions of this usually begin with the tale of the ancient Greek painter able to create a work so convincing that birds would attempt to eat the depicted grapes; they also include a discourse on the original Greek word mimesis, linking it to imitation. Because our terms for representation commonly stem from this, we can be led into certain areas of thought. But none of the available translations are fully accurate, I feel, so I shall bypass this rather than be bogged down by obtuse argument.

There are arts that embrace representation and those that do not. The intrinsically representational arts are literature (including poetry, prose, and drama), the visual arts (including painting, sculpture, photography, and film), and, of course, other arts close to or between these areas, such as performance, comics/sequential art, mixed media, and intermedia. That favorite metaphor for abstract painters, music, is an example of an art which resists representation.

The representational nature of visual art is one of its most important, fruitful, and intriguing elements --- yet for very particular reasons. It is amusing that we always speak as if illusion were truly possible in art. An argument can be made that this deception seldom, perhaps never, genuinely occurs. We never mistake art for reality. The disinterestedness of the aesthetic attitude, as philosophers say, and our basic sanity usually disallows this. To aesthetically perceive anything is in fact not to be "fooled" by pretence. We neither bump our noses trying to walk into Richard Estes paintings, nor rush about attempting to save the victim of a Hitchcock movie from harm.

The viewer is not over-distanced, of course: I might get tears at a tragedy, and frequently an excellent painting sends chills of excitement up my spine. Response to a work of art is in fact multilayered and complex. Art demands a synchronous, contrary, almost oscillating attention. I view a work both entranced and consciously considering the skill of the image or artifice. As an example, trompe l'oeil, "fool-the-eye" painting, is ironically the opposite of its supposed intent. Our whole attention is riveted by the accomplishment of the artifice, which gives us the thrill. It in no way deceives us. If trompe l'oeil wished to really trick us, the only successful pieces would be counterfeit money.
On the other hand, there is always the danger that simple emotional escapism can preclude moral involvement and analysis of larger context; Bertolt Brecht shared this concern, as is evidenced in his attacks on theatrical illusion.

What makes an image a representation of something? How is it a "picture?" Just because the artist intended --- or we presume that he/she did --- a work to be a representation of something, is it? Because the artist looked at a tree while in the act of painting is that why the piece then bears the image of a tree? If I notice that a picture reminds me visually of a human's face, is it a portrait? These points may be of interest in the process of the artist, but it is obviously untrue to ascribe to any of them the essence, or interest, of representation itself. Furthermore, I am not talking about "figurative" art, genre, or simple naturalism. Representation, to me, to be a source of significance in art, must go beyond that; we must consider the inclusion of history, meaning, as well as our abilities and inabilities to recognize it. Indeed, much abstraction is intriguing at least partially due to its evasion of, dispute with, circulation around representation. NOT representing something disturbs many, especially when it approached decorativeness --- which I feel is an incorrect response, but the subject for another podcast.

There is a famous scientific anecdote of chimpanzees able to recognize photos of themselves, yet certain humans who had never previously seen photographs being unable to do so. Even so-called primitive or traditional societies have highly sophisticated systems of representation that filter their vision. The convoluted modern "naive" theory is that if an image somehow resembles a photograph of a certain object ---  discounting certain aspects of photographic vision (such as out-of-focus) --- then it is a representation of that object. This points, through its obvious simple-mindedness, verging on illogicality, elsewhere.

My assertion is that representation is largely a matter of social convention. And this can and is and should be used by artists when creating representational works.
As symbol shades into "picture" and is culturally dependent, I can only see representation fully realized and most pregnant with meaning, as concretized belief. By this I mean something near ideology, although I hesitate to use that buzzword that describes many things now destroying our societies. I suppose I mean in some ways Weltanschauung ("world-looking-at," "philosophy-of-life") and Weltbild ("world-picture").

Flippantly, I might say that representation represents itself. This is not circular like a formal tautology, such as "what you see is what you see." A picture of the world, or some element of it, is a rich evocative arena! A picture is open to critical interpretation and bears the weight of previous and current assumptions concerning the uses (and misuses) of similar images. Because of this we only see through conceptual scrims. Our knowledge of an image is a knowledge of the conditions inherent in that image. For instance, representation from the past reveals to a greater or lesser extent the superstructure of the society that produced it, which is of course related to other elements such as but not limited to the economic base. It also reflects, whether intentionally or not, the mores and values of the people and society out of which it arose. And yet quite often, and at best, it embodies critique and alternatives to these very values and beliefs. We artists are at best both OF our time and AGAINST it!

Jan Van Eyck's painting fully depicts both the religiosity of his time and -the rising antimedieval materialism that was to eclipse it. Oscar Schlemmer's work proffers his period's hope for a grander future, yet also portrays the dehumanization it wrought. Leonardo da Vinci's art, studies and notes are clearly the quintessence of the Renaissance, yet carry bits of the Medieval in them, his heritage, and also grand propositions for how things could be improved. Again, we artists are at best both OF our time and AGAINST it!

It is credible to postulate that much of our understanding of visual art is through its ability to give direct expression to the sense of shared humanity, of shared human experience. But the strongest works are those that sustain the most complex responses, like life. Therein lies the presence and vigor of representation: Works of art can be made for interpretation, cognizant of their status, associations, and cultural situation. Artists have the ability to wield considerable power through their manipulation of the multiplicity of references, technical aspects, emotions, and intellectual assertions of representation to delineate the truth of our experience.

Representation in Art!

Thanks for listening. Podcast number 22. 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 entire history of Postmodernist Art from 1979 through today, on Metaphor(m) in Art History, on Mongrel Art, and on Women in Art. Once again, I'd like to thank Chloe Orwell, Brad Elvis, and the rock band the Handcuffs for composing, performing and recording my theme song, "Shut Up and Paint," a tiny portion of which begins and ends every Dr Great Art Podcast.

You can find or contact me at
book me at www.mirjamhadorn.com
or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Minds.co or ello, all as Dr Great Art.
 

17 September 2017

Dr Great Art Episode 21: Giotto and Halley's Comet



Giotto, the painter who made the crucial change from the Medieval style thus beginning the Renaissance in art, painted a picture of the Star of Bethlehem which is an image of Halley's comet.
http://drgreatart.libsyn.com/episode-21-giotto-and-halleys-comet

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

Dr Great Art Podcast 21

Giotto and Halley's Comet

Hi this is Mark Staff Brandl, with the 21st "Dr Great Art" brief podcast. I hope you enjoy it and come back for each and every one.

After several more theoretical and/or polemical podcasts, today my Artecdote is a simple yet fun art history fact. Giotto's image of the Star of Bethlehem is an image of Halley's comet!

Giotto di Bondone[ (c. 1270 – January 8, 1337), known as Giotto was an Italian painter from Florence. He worked during the Late Gothic / Proto-Renaissance" period. In fact he WAS the main proto-Renaissance.

In his Le Vite, Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, the first art historian ever, Giorgio Vasari, declares that Giotto made the crucial change from the Medieval style, bringing naturalistic observation into art.

So in effect Giotto's work is THE trigger for the beginning of what we call the Renaissance.

The painting we are discussing here is actually not independent --- it is a portion of the cycle of frescoes in the Arena Chapel in Padua, Italy.

This painting segment is now called The Adoration of the Magi and was painted around 1305.

The scene depicts the typical group on the left of the Three Wise Men and their servant and horses at the manger, greeting and giving presents to the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, with an angel watching it all on the right. Giotto’s impressive new techniques are in evidence: wonderfully 3-dimensional draping of cloth, solid figures seeming to have weight, emotion on the faces of the figures, and an early, naturalistic but not yet mathematically correct perspective.

The most interesting component for us now is the image of the Star of Bethlehem above the manger in the night sky. It is not an image of a star at all. Not even a bright planet, both of which were typical in Adoration paintings. It is clearly in the form of a comet shooting through the sky. A comet with a ball-shaped head and a pointed, upward-slanting, fiery tail. It is thought that Giotto was inspired by a 1301 viewing of Halley’s Comet.

According to the Bible, the Wise Men followed a star which stopped above the place where Jesus was born.

Halley’s Comet appeared low in the northwestern sky over Italy in the autumn of 1301. With no light pollution, such as we now have, it would have been even clearer, brighter and more impressive than our recent sightings. You couldn’t even miss it at dusk, to say nothing of darker night.

The Comet was discussed widely at that time. Many thought it was inauspicious, meaning a herald of bad events, but many others saw it as sign of change for the good. Very appropriate for the Advent of Christ.

Of course, no one at the time knew they were seeing Halley’s Comet. They did not call it that. People had no idea comets orbited the sun and reappeared cyclically after years. They thought comets were unpredictable, one-off phenomena. In 1705, Edmund Halley, using Newton’s new laws of gravity, discovered that the comets of 1531, 1607 and 1682 were different appearances of the same comet. In his honor, it was named Halley’s Comet. Halley's Comet is visible from Earth every 74–79 years.

In March 1986, a European space probe flew near the nucleus of Halley’s Comet, photographing and examining its surface in detail. The probe was named Giotto in honor of this great artist who gave us what is likely the first realistic portrait of a comet in Western art as well as kick-starting the perhaps most important epoch of culture, the Renaissance.

As an aside, science and art can complement each other and work together, the key overlap lying in serious observation. In that light, I hope to discuss the art of such important Sci-Artists as Charles Lindsay in a future podcast.

Giotto and Halley's Comet!

Thanks for listening. Podcast number 21. 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 entire history of Postmodernist Art from 1979 through today, on Metaphor(m) in Art History, on Mongrel Art, and on Self-Portraits in Art. Once again, I'd like to thank Chloe Orwell, Brad Elvis, and the rock band the Handcuffs for composing, performing and recording my theme song, "Shut Up and Paint," a tiny portion of which begins and ends every Dr Great Art Podcast.

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.

11 September 2017

Carried Away, from "Out of Sequence" Painting-Installation


A short 3 minute description of the Mongrel Painting-Installation I did for the exhibition "Out of Sequence" in 2008 in 3 museums in the US. A discussion between a "Sidetrack" radio commenter and the curators of the show, John Jennings and Damian Duffy. One of the best and most fun shows I have EVER been included in! Thanks John and Damian once again!
https://youtu.be/6I1hYtRs3-4


03 September 2017

Dr Great Art Episode 20: Mongrel Art and Democratic Art


Mongrel Art! Democratic Art! This Dr Great Art Artecdote Podcast is a description of and plaidoyer for a (Post-Postmodernist) art that is anti-purist, syncretistic, and creolized, unifying a variety of artforms, disciplines, tendencies and philosophies. Artworks involving popular or democratic and street artforms outside the "standard" fine art ones, yet also not eschewing either so-called time-honored, nor technologically "new" disciplines, as it seeks to revitalize and transform them all, while opening the art system and deliberately involving people outside the field of art in artistic processes.
http://drgreatart.libsyn.com/episode-20-mongrel-and-democratic-art

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

Dr Great Art Episode 20: Mongrel Art and Democratic Art


Hi this is Mark Staff Brandl, with the 20th "Dr Great Art" brief podcast. I hope you enjoy it and come back for each and every one.

Today my Artecdote concerns something most near and dear to my artistic heart: Mongrel and Democratic Art.

I have made passing comments in my Dr Great Art podcasts about my conception of this potential antidote to or better-said resolution for and expansion beyond Postmodernism. Mongrel Art. Here I finally give the basic definition of what I mean.

I will occasionally shorten this to simply 'Mongrel Art.' That is the key phrase, but I find the other term 'Democratic Art' to be a significant and complementary branch of Mongrel Art.
What is this? Mongrel artists are against purism in all forms, finding it to be morally and politically questionable, a trope of oppression and racism. Much art since Late Formalism is too purist --- too much inbreeding. I find what Formalism became to be a result of a misreading of Greenberg, but that is a thorny subject for another podcast.

Mongrel Art is a syncretistic unifying of a variety of artforms, disciplines, tendencies and philosophies. It often involves popular or democratic and street artforms outside the "standard" fine art ones, yet also does eschews neither so-called traditional, that is time-honored, nor technologically "new" disciplines, as it seeks to revitalize and transform them all. This is not appropriation, fusion or cross-over, but a personal and disjunctive dialogue of arbitration. 'Syncretism' refers to such a practice of truly uniting different doctrines or practices with each other. Mongrel artworks are syncretistic, not eclectic at their best. I discussed this differentiation between eclecticism and syncretism back in the Dr Great Art podcast Nr. 11 on Easter, please go back and listen to that is you haven't already.

The term "mongrel" in English means a dog of mixed or indeterminate breed, often one found on the street. My wife and I always have two dogs and two cats, rescued or from the shelter, thus usually mongrels. The term DOES have distinctly derogative overtones, I am aware. Yet ones that I assert are actually complimentary. For example, I used the equivalent term "Mischling" in several interviews about my art in German, whereupon the writers immediately leapt into the alternate form in that language, "Bastard." While not containing the same meaning as our English word bastard, I still don't appreciate that much, or then maybe I DO! I could use the term 'hybrid,' which is somewhat similar. However, it means the offspring of two animals or plants of different breeds or varieties especially as produced through human manipulation for specific genetic characteristics. Thus, it suggests a mixture usually of only two, while 'Mongrel' suggests something more of a free-for-all. Also, 'hybrid' has that disturbing association with profit-based human manipulation, which we are all suspicious of due to the questionable genetic manipulation of seeds and so on by Monsanto and the like. Mongrel, once again, seems much more natural. Dogs choosing each other in multiple combinations, not corporate manoeuvring.

A related and beautiful term is 'creolization,' in addition to Creole culture itself, this now anthropologically describes any coming together of diverse cultural traits or elements to form new ones, a complex process of cultural borrowing and lending in an area with many different influences. Having lived in the Caribbean, I have personally experienced the richness of creole culture and the promise for the world of creolization as an idea.This bears directly on our recent waves of immigration in Europe from war zones, as well as the political fear mongering against immigrants in the US, and the new re-visibility of racist groups in the US and around the world, including our clearly racist US president Trump. However, due to that term having too many meanings, I refer to such tendencies in art as 'mongrel,' affirmatively refunctioning an old insult, in the tried-and-true method called 'reappropriation.'

Certainly, there is a definite socio-political aspect to Mongrel Art. It's a Blues, Jazz, Rock n Roll, Hip-Hop, even Comics, archaeological "thing" and more. It struck me once that many of my favorite entities, such as those just listed, are mergers of African American, Jewish, and immigrant cultures with the "mainstream" white Euro culture. To my mind improving that later culture immensely. English in fact, viewed linguistically, is a creole language, but due to its powerful position, we seldom want to mention that!

Mongrel Artworks likewise are inherently impure entities; I would amplify this, claiming they offer a positively anti-purist emancipation from narrow formalist reductivism, Neo-Conceptual ironic inbreeding, the malaise of Crapstraction and other Feeble Art --- in short, liberation from academicist confinement. This impurity is a trait to applaud and encourage in order to construct a new road out of the cul-de-sac of Postmodernism. Indeed, objections to such Mongrel works are usually objections to the forms' impurity, if you analyze the hostility closely. "Breaking down seemingly essential boundaries is often thought to be unnatural, and so morally pernicious," wrote philosopher David Carrier. Mongrel Art is radically technically, contextually, metaphorically, and content-wise, non-exclusive, even expansive. For full disclosure, my own art is part of this, as it unites painting, drawing, installation, sign-painting, sequential art (comics), and even performance-teaching in painting-installations in my Dr Great Art project. It is, though, an approach many artists are working toward now.

Democratic Art:
Democratic Art is to me a subcategory of Mongrel Art, the application of its principles to conceptualist-based Social Practice Art. As 'Mongrel Art' was originally a term I created to describe my own art, likewise, 'Democratic Art' is a term created by artists Alex Meszmer and Reto Müller to describe their art. But it was quickly clear that both terms were allied and had application to much other art in addition to ours.

Democratic Art generally uses public space, yet goes beyond the traditional understanding of Art in Public Spaces, here called 'Kunst am Bau.' It opens the art system and deliberately involves people outside the field of art in artistic processes. It assumes that art can also be carried by a public that is not part of an experienced art audience but shows interest in it. Democratic Art aims for discussion, wherein artists understand themselves as participating active members of society, as citizens actively taking part in democracy, seeking integration instead of exclusion, interacting between art and society. It tries to incorporate democratic processes into the creation, exhibition, and interpretation of art. A mongrelization of SoPra.

Who are some Mongrel and Democratic artists? Off the top of my head, in no particular order I would say:
Tom Sanford, Christa Donner, Charles Michael Reid, Maddy Rosenberg, Ashley Bickerton, Gaëlle Villedary, Stefan Rohner, David Reed, Gene Colan, Mira Schor, Damiano Curchellas, Chiara Fiorini, Stefano Pasquini, Tilt, Raoul Deal, Interpixel, Tim Rollins and KOS, Pau Delgado, William Powhida, Guy Richards Smit, Aaron Johnston, Peter Daverington, as well as myself and Meszmer/Mueller.

The inbetweenness of Mongrel and Democratic Art has important social, psychological, even ethical implications — as well as historical-philosophical ones. Mongrel Art interbreeds various established art disciplines and approaches, --- all in order to energize and criticize fine art, vernacular arts, and their publics. This is inherently democratic, closing of the various gaps between educated and mass culture, elite and niche culture and others. Cross the border, lose that gap, get out of our ever-shrinking, self-imposed gated-community artworld. Interbreed.

That was "Mongrel and Democratic Art"

Today we have Listener post! : Lucille Younger is a greatly appreciated listener, who is an ex-journalist --- back from the days when they really WERE journalists! She wrote in concerning Dr Great Art Podcast 18, "Meaning is in Artworks Themselves": Lucille writes, "This podcast was Informative, entertaining, and reassuring for those of us who (with a little trepidation) try to understand a piece of art. You say (in part) the meaning is in the artwork itself, and can be found (or, at least understood) by asking: "What does the act of interacting with this help me understand about life, about art, about thinking about feeling?" That's comforting, and puts appreciating art into a context that we can all understand. Thanks, Mark Staff Brandl!"
Thank you Lucille! That was a part of my intention. I think good discussion can really open doors to art and artworks, thus my Dr Great Art project. Nevertheless, it should not replace direct experience and open-minded, visual interpretation.

Thanks for listening. Podcast number 20. If you wish to hear more cool, exciting and hopefully inspiring stuff about art history and art, come back for more. Andy you, like Lucille, can write to me! 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 entire history of Postmodernist Art from 1979 through today, on Metaphor(m) in Art History, and on Mongrel Art. Once again, I'd like to thank Chloe Orwell, Brad Elvis, and the rock band the Handcuffs for composing, performing and recording my theme song, "Shut Up and Paint," a tiny portion of which begins and ends every Dr Great Art Podcast.
You can find or contact me at
book me at www.mirjamhadorn.com (spell)
or find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all as Dr Great Art.

Dr Great Art Episode 19: (No) Rules in Art


My newest Dr Great Art podcast! Episode 19: "(No) Rules in Art." This Artecdote concerns supposed rules in art, especially painting. It describes how there are really no rules in art, and it decries the obsequiousness of those who believe there are rules and who seek to follow them.
http://drgreatart.libsyn.com/episode-19-no-rules-in-art #arthistory #art

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

 Dr Great Art Podcast 19: (No) Rules in Art



Hi this is Mark Staff Brandl, with the 19th "Dr Great Art" brief podcast. I hope you enjoy it and come back for each and every one.

Today my Artecdote concerns supposed Rules in Art, especially painting.

"I've seen most creative minds of my generation destroyed by obsequiousness." Toadying to those who espouse rules for art.

One and all seem to want to rewrite the beginning section of Alan Ginsberg's wonderful first line of his poem Howl. The original: "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, ...." Yet I could not resist, for in art, culture and politics, as well as elsewhere, I find my version to be true.

Recriminations run rampant in the artworld. What's wrong with curators? What's wrong with critics? What's wrong with galleries? I would like to add "What is wrong with us?" By that I mean primarily artists, but perhaps beyond that, all of us in all the mentioned categories.

Tessa Laird wrote of researching the artworld, that she "felt like [she] had stumbled into an anthill, where thousands of industrious (anty) intellectuals were going about their business of empire-building and ankle-biting." When exactly did we turn from manifesto screaming, naive-yet-hopeful creators-with-attitudes into fawning, trendy Sophists?

This podcast is the beginning of a rant I will likely return to in various fashions in the future in my podcasts. This one, however, was motivated by two particular discussions I recently remembered, although I had them years ago. It, and my complaint, concern painting, but thereby synecdochically all art.

I, as most Americans do, make paintings with somewhat deep stretcher frames, with the canvas or linen stretched around the side, stapled to the back, with an unpainted edge. Europeans tend to use very flat, rather flimsy-looking stretched canvas, often purchased pre-primed or at least appearing so.

I have done this for years, although now I also do paintings on top of wall paintings in large installations, even involving performance-lectures, which inspired these podcasts.

Anyway, a Swiss painter I know was very bothered by my, and other thicker, stretchers. This at first seemed to me to be rather unimportant, a simple visual preference one way or the other. They find ours (and us) too self-assertive; I find theirs too shabby and amateurish. Second, I heard from a curator, that while he really liked my work, he did not know "what to think," as this Mongrel approach of mine was something he "had never seen."

This can't be really important, just taste. Or is it?

I thought more intensely about this question after the conversations, and realized that it is very pertinent to my metaphor(m) theory, strangely enough, and to all art.

First --- if the second person mentioned had REALLY never seen anything like my art, that would make me one of the greatest living innovators! It would be something to delight, not befuddle you! It is of course not true, there are always other artists working similarly to anyone, earlier, later and especially at one's own time.

Second, and most importantly, EVERY aspect of a work of art is important. Tropaically, desperately important. And they must be worked out for the artwork AT HAND, not by following rules. The idea that this artist had, that paintings must have a narrow stretcher, "to express its flatness," has been learned by rote. It is part of a vast litany of prescriptions for painting, which although a supposedly "dead" entity, still raises the hackles of fear on the necks of many an academicist.

Therefore any painting-survivors must be administered the medication of ordinance, until they become well-behaved casualties. These zombie-paintings are required to have a relatively featureless, enervated surface facture; consist of indifferent, unmodulated paint, preferably apathetically diluted with excessive turpentine; be painted lackadaisically; have either drab, mundane forms as motifs or be based on dull photographs. All these admonitions serve to enervate and debilitate painting. Keep it in its place. Other art forms such as video and installation are encouraged to engage in dialogue with outside forces (albeit also only in decreed fashions), however paintings — that is, painters — are only allowed to solipsistically iterate and dissect their rudimentary, elemental components. And do so with the proper air of listlessness. As painter the late Charles Boetschi described such work, "those indifferent little bits and pieces made with a wearied sigh while cell-phoning an 'art facilitator' for the more important activity of doing lunch." Rules for imaginativeness cannot be memorized, but those for sycophancy and conformity can.

These directives resemble an enforced Munchausen Syndrome by proxy. It is time for all art, but especially painting to stop being enfeebled, flabby, a victim. To cease assisting with its maltreatment and vitiation. We can do it, one aspect at a time, by rebuffing such "understood" edicts and creating our own, vigorous and vital metaphor(m)s.

Stop being sycophantic, stop bootlicking. You canNOT memorize your way to greatness.

Goya in his ADDRESS TO THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF SAN FERNANDO REGARDING THE METHOD OF TEACHING THE VISUAL ARTS of 1792, one of the first speeches ever made to an art academy, made several points that are STILL problems for us. In fact I think I will read his whole speech as a future podcast. But back to my theme now:

He said, "there are no rules in Painting, and ...the oppression, or servile obligation of making ALL study or follow the SAME path, is a great impediment for the young who profess this very difficult art."

Study, learn, work, critique, argue, make make make --- but there are NO hard-and-fast-rules in art.

That was "(No) Rules in Art."

Thanks for listening. Podcast number 19. 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 entire painting-installations.

Some recent ones were on the entire history of Postmodernist Art from 1979 through today, on Metaphor(m) in Art History, and on Mongrel Art. Once again, I'd like to thank Chloe Orwell, Brad Elvis, and the rock band the Handcuffs for composing, performing and recording my theme song, "Shut Up and Paint," a tiny portion of which begins and ends every Dr Great Art Podcast.

You can find or contact me at


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