Panorama view of exhibition in Jedlitschka Gallery, Zurich.

Panorama view of exhibition in Jedlitschka Gallery, Zurich.

27 January 2018

Dr Great Art Podcast Episode 29: 7 Fun Art Artecdotes



The newest Dr Great Art podcast, Episode 29: 7 Fun Facts in Art History. A lighter episode relating seven stimulating facts about Vincent van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Georgia O'Keeffe. At Apple Podcasts, Spotify or
http://drgreatart.libsyn.com/episode-29-7-fun-facts-in-art-history
#arthistory

Dr Great Art Podcast 29: 7 Fun Artecdotes

Hi this is Mark Staff Brandl, with the 29th "Dr Great Art" brief podcast. I hope you enjoy it and come back for each and every one.

After a series of rather resolutely critical podcasts, today my episode will be a string of more congenial artecdotes, 7 fun facts.

So let's get right into it.

First, Vincent van Gogh's name is strange to pronounce. We all do it wrong. Ask any speaker of Dutch. It is "van Go" to you Americans and French, "van Gof" to you Brits, and something like "fan Chhhochhh" really. We art historians have settled on the German version, which is about half right and not impossible for most of us: "fan Gochhhh."

Second, Vincent produced more than 2,000 works during his life: 900 paintings and 1,100+ drawings and sketches. He probably only sold one painting while he was alive, The Red Vineyard at Arles of 1888. Anna Boch, a Belgian artist, bought the painting in early 1890 for 400 Belgian francs. (I really like her own Pink and Yellow Houses painting, by the way.)

Third, van Gogh didn't even begin art until he was twenty-seven years old, died when he was thirty-seven, and the most important paintings were largely the ones in the two years before he died. He was almost entirely self-taught, an autodidact, and the speed at which he became so great and so independently original in his art is astounding. Especially in the face of being for the most part ignored.

Fourth, Leonardo da Vinci's name is NOT 'da Vinci' !
Leonardo's full name at birth was simply 'Leonardo.'

As an illegitimate child, the son of a notary and a serving girl Caterina (seen as and possible really was something like a slave). His father Piero took him away from his mother and rather ignored him, but nevertheless Leonard could then sign his name Leonardo di Ser Piero.

Leonardo was born just outside the tiny hamlet of Vinci. So people would sometimes tack his origin onto his name: "of Vinci." Leonardo di Ser Piero da Vinci. But that was not a name --- it would be like calling me "of Chicago" or " of Peoria" instead of 'Brandl.' And thus, the 'da' is not capitalized as well.

As he considered Florence to be his real hometown, the artist himself often signed his name "Leonardo the Florentine" or Leonardo the Florentine, the painter." 'Leonardo Fiorentino Pittore.'

Leonardo had twelve half-siblings, who ignored him and caused him difficulty in a dispute over his small inheritance. Yet later, after his great fame, after his death, parts of the family apparently took his place designation as a family name, thus there are "da Vincis" in Italy now. The Renaissance, by the way, was the time in Europe when surnames were being created.

In art historical circles he is simply called 'Leonardo.' Any other Leonardo needs a surname, yes, even "DiCaprio." There is only one, great "Leonardo." On the street, you can say "da Vinci" but never to an art historian.

Fifth, Michelangelo HAD a surname! 'Buonarroti' --- or in full Italian-style 'Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti.'

He is, however, as is well-known, SO important that he is simply called 'Michelangelo.' Which should be pronounced with a short 'i', thus Michelangelo, not 'Michael-Angelo,' but as with 'da Vinci,' on the street we can accept that. Maybe.

In his lifetime, Michelangelo was often called Il Divino ("the divine one"), as even then, and for about 600 years afterwards he has been immensely revered. That has even made the Church nervous on occasion, as Michi is, in a way, we artists' and art historians' chosen saint.

Sixth, while we are on the subject of names, Pablo Picasso was baptized 'Pablo Diego José Fransisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruiz y Picasso.' In Spanish style the last two words are the father's surname, the 'y' for 'and,' and then the mother's surname. So he would be Senior Ruiz. But he took his mother's family name alone in France, supposedly because it was less common, but we also know that he had serious difficulties with his father.

Seventh, not everyone needs a huge studio. Although I usually do. Georgia O'Keeffe's most unique one was a car! When she lived in the Southwest of the US, she removed the driver's seat of her Model-A automobile, unbolted the passenger seat, and turned it around to face the back seat. She put canvases on the back seat and painted. The car's limited space seems to have appealed to her because it helped further concentration, shaded her from the heat, and protected her from bothersome bees.

Thanks for listening. Podcast number 29.

7 Fun Artecdotes

If you enjoy my podcasts, please go to Apple podcasts and give me 5 stars and a recommendation! It helps others find this podcast. Additionally, if you have any questions or requests for topics, please feel free to contact me with them! I'd truly enjoy covering them!

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, 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

www.drgreatart.com/ (spell)

book me at www.mirjamhadorn.com (spell)

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

Dr Great Art Podcast Episode 28: Neo-Sophistry in Art

Dr Great Art podcast Episode 28: Sophistry in Art

This episode concerns a troublesome yet seldom acknowledged tendency in the artworld: Sophistry. Why are you in this struggle? Are you an artist or critic or curator simply for careerist "success"? Weren't you actually CALLED to art?
http://drgreatart.libsyn.com/episode-28-sophistry-in-art
#arthistory #philosophy

Dr Great Art Podcast 28 28

Sophistry, Careerism in Art

Hi this is Mark Staff Brandl, with the 28th "Dr Great Art" brief podcast. I hope you enjoy it and come back for each and every one.

Today my Artecdote concerns a troublesome yet seldom acknowledged tendency I see in the artworld: Sophistry. Or more correctly, (Neo-)Sophistry

There is a new Sophistry now rampant in the world and even in the artworld, where one would least expect it.

What is Sophistry?

The essential claim of sophistry is that the actual validity of an argument is irrelevant (even non-existent); it is only the ruling of the audience which matters --- and usually only the ruling of a "chosen" audience of fellow-believers. Thus any position ruled true by these "judges" must be considered completely correct, even if it was arrived at by naked pandering to prejudices, or even by bribery or by coercion. Critics such as Socrates have, of course, argued that this claim relies on a straw man caricature of logical discourse and is, in fact, a circular, self-justifying act of self-deception and even fawning.

Sophists claim there is no reason to search for or even desire such things as quality, truth, analysis, criticality, social justice, etc. In fact, they claim that there no real knowledge, yet they historically insist on teaching this very "fact" of know-nothing-ism, producing students who excel in memorization, performance, and what we nowadays call yuppie-career-development. Socrates criticized them, noting that they are not concerned to know and teach the way anything might really stand, but only to prevail over others, merely to win, without provoking their listeners to desire anything of importance. Sophists, according to him, are not only ignorant of the essential nature of the phenomena they profess to teach, they practice deception.

In a parallel manner, many of the "powerful" in the artworld of today, even artists themselves, make no claim to any actual desire for anything beyond a rather bovine, suburban, view of career success and are happy to teach this and promote it and themselves in universities, museums, Kunsthallen, exhibitions, biennials and the like. One prominent European curator and art school director has even openly claimed his position as a complete Sophist. Most others in similar positions would deny it, but practice it, which is Sophistry at its most conformist.

Thus Neo-Sophistry is the newest form of an age-old erroneous and self-serving belief, often born of a very middlebrow envy of creativity, deeper intellectual thought or vital desire.

Ask yourself, why are you in this struggle? Are you an artist or critic or curator simply because you were too incompetent to be a success in a "real" career such as banking or popular music or novel-writing or...? I don't think so.

Weren't you actually CALLED to art in some way, by someone?

Think back. Duchamp said that that he wanted to be the "champion of the world or champion of something" yet denied easy success at every turn. He eventually claimed (fallaciously it later was revealed) to have renounced his vocation. Explaining this supposed retreat to his patron Katherine Drier, he wrote: "Don't see any pessimism in my decisions; they are only a way toward beatitude." But actually he was working on his last permanent installation.

The best way toward beatitude lies, though, NOT in denying your vocation, or lying about that, but in remembering and returning to its original roots regularly. That is in order to try to truly be yourself in art, one of THE most difficult of all things. Keep in mind your love of art.

Do not be conformed to this artworld of Neo-Sophistry, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Confidence in your calling is your source, not hypocrisy or careerism. These are false gods.

Neo-Sophistry in art is the blind promulgating the mute.

Thanks for listening. Podcast number 28.

Sophistry in Art.

If you enjoy my podcasts, please go to Apple podcasts and give me 5 stars and a recommendation! It helps others find this podcast. Additionally, if you have any questions or requests for topics, please feel free to contact me with them! I'd truly enjoy covering them!

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, 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

www.drgreatart.com/ (spell)

book me at www.mirjamhadorn.com (spell)

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

Dr Great Art Podcast Episode 27: Models are Not Master Narratives


The new Episode 27: an explanation of my assertion that art history models are not necessarily master narratives. Art History is often told in versions of one linear story, thus a master narrative. This often delimits thought, sustains oppressive systems and purports to be the truth, allowing no exceptions. On the other hand, the stringent fear of modeling has sometimes lead the less inventive to fall into the simple nihilism of "I give up." In fact, models are important dialogical tools of and for thought.
http://drgreatart.libsyn.com/episode-27-models-are-not-master-narratives
#arthistory #thoughtmodels #metaphor

Dr Great Art Podcast 27

Models are Not Master Narratives

Hi this is Mark Staff Brandl, with the 27th "Dr Great Art" brief podcast. I hope you enjoy it and come back for each and every one.

Today my Artecdote is an explanation of my assertion that Art History Models are Not Necessarily Master Narratives.

First two evocative quotations:

"Rather than ask again: what is a trope? I prefer to
ask the pragmatic question: what is it that we want
our tropes to do for us?"
—Harold Bloom

"If a new metaphor enters the conceptual system
that we base our actions on, it will alter that
conceptual system and the perceptions and actions
that the system gives rise to. Much of cultural
change arises from the introduction of new
metaphorical concepts and the loss of old ones."
—George Lakoff and Mark Johnson

Master Narratives

Art History is often told in various versions of one linear story, thus a master narrative.

But what are master narratives? They are all-enveloping stories, (usually single strand or monogenic as Christian Doelker refers to them), which means they try in a rather straight-forward, (or so appearing) fashion, to relate a series of events which offer a comprehensive explanation of historical or philosophical events or knowledge. A master narrative is a grand story that 'masters' (dominates) other stories by either absorbing them or ignoring them. The basic notion, as we now use it in an importantly critical fashion, was seemingly first suggested, by Jean-François Lyotard in 1979.

What is the problem with them? Explaining all the aspects of the problems and abuses resulting from master narratives, or dominant discourses as they have also been termed, has been much of the livelihood of postmodern critics. In short, as they point out, master narratives often delimit thought, sustain oppressive systems and purport to be the truth, allowing no exceptions. On the other hand, what has been the problem with the stringent critique of master narratives? It has sometimes lead the less inventive to fall into the simple nihilism of "I give up."

In the name of "decentering the discourse" or the like, some art historians, for example, do nothing innovative, allowing their fear of potential incorrectness to lead them into a far worse scenario, a decent into a Consensus-Correct yet unproductive morass of avoidance. Yes, thank God, the wide acceptance of the Western canon as self-evidently universal (even in non-Western regions) is over; yet just when it should be significantly enlarged, it can instead become a shrunken paucity of visual-aids to solipsistic fear. Heuristically, such a vision of art history is then clearly useless. If not surreptitiously colonializing in its OWN way.

What is a Model?

Models are provisional representations of complex circumstances. Conceptual models are concepts, best of all, images of some complexity, mocking-up real world states of affairs in a fashion that helps us analyze those affairs, especially relationships among them. A model at best is testable, self-questioning, and suggests new insights. A good model forms the foundation for discussions of the concepts involved.

It is vital to stress that a model is not the real world but merely a human construct to help us better understand real world experiences. The map is not the landscape, yet it can help us appreciate various aspects of the landscape as we walk through it. The best models are clearly open to critique and suggest their own fallibility, while still serving as significant instruments of thought. We all use models, whether consciously or not. Being conscious of them and attempting to improve them, assists in stopping any slide into master narrative.

Some examples of highly useful models: imagining electrons orbiting the nucleus of an atom as similar to planets orbiting a sun; flowcharts of boxes and arrows seen as representing actions in a series; mathematical structures such as groups, fields, graphs, or even the universes of set theory to visualize mathematical logic; and so on. Clearly, most models are metaphors or combinations of tropes.

Scientific, philosophical and theoretical models are all about discussion and include the expressed aim of improving each model continuously, in a kind of calculus of thought.

A Personal Example:

In my Phd dissertation, many articles and podcasts, and my teaching, I discuss my theory of central trope, or metaphor(m). As one aspect of that, I asked myself what a model of art history itself could look like if I treated the standard timeline as an artwork of sorts, and attempted to create a new one which would embody a central trope incorporating a contemporary conception of history while retaining heuristic use as a learning device. I was not aiming to utterly dismiss the timeline in despair, as some have done. In a dialogical fashion I was answering back to the calls of the models of art history now in use, trying to improve upon them by shaping a new and better trope for understanding the discipline. I, along with John Perreault, developed a model of art history as a frayed, braided rope. More about this in a future podcast.

Tools of Thought

What do we want our tropes to do for us, as Bloom asks? We want our tropes to change the way we think. Through such alteration, we want them to offer us understanding, to help us comprehend the world of our experience, and even, perhaps, to assist us in changing that world. This is a large demand, but we should face it in all its hubris, self-contradiction, impossibility and wonder, and not evade it in cloying irony or other self-debasement. All the creative arts introduce new metaphorical concepts or surprising re-readings of older ones. This is primarily accomplished by creators through their metaphoric use of elements of the physical world, their materials, methods and formats: their metaphor(m)s, their central tropes.

As can be seen, models are not master narratives. Not in form, use, implication or application. And they can be made in ways that highlight their own provisional nature.

The almost paranoid fear of expressing any non-pre-approved analytical conception has made many a weaker contemporary art theorist make this conceptual error of identification between models and master narratives. That is merely a logical mistake. Models are tools of and for thought.

And Art History as a Braid is an important model, I believe. More about it soon!

Thanks for listening. Podcast number 27.

Models are Not Master Narratives.

If you enjoy my podcasts, please go to Apple podcasts and give me 5 stars and a recommendation! It helps others find this podcast. Additionally, if you have any questions or requests for topics, please feel free to contact me with them! I'd truly enjoy covering them!

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, 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

www.drgreatart.com/ (spell)

book me at www.mirjamhadorn.com (spell)

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

02 January 2018

Blitz Art History Exclusively Women Artists


I finished! Whew! Hard work, but really fun. A hand-drawn, cursory, Blitz History of Art with only women artists! Prehistoric through now!
 Ich bin damit fertig! Harte Arbeit, aber wirklich erfreulich. Eine handgezeichnete, flüchtige Blitz-Kunstgeschichte mit nur Künstlerinnen. Prähistorisch durch und mit heute!