MSB brainstorming

26 December 2008

Gene Colan wins Cartoon Art Museum's Sparky Award

San Francisco, CA: The Cartoon Art Museum is proud to announce that Gene Colan is the recipient of the 2008 Sparky Award, which was presented to him by CAM founder Malcolm Whyte during the museum's "Salute to Gene Colan" on Thursday, December 4, 2008.

The Sparky Award is named in honor of Charles "Sparky" Schulz, the creator of Peanuts. Schulz was nicknamed "Sparky" after the horse Sparkplug featured in the comic strip Barney Google. The Cartoon Art Museum would not exist without benefactors like Sparky Schulz and his wife, Jeannie. The Sparky Award is presented on behalf of the Cartoon Art Museum and the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Library.

The award celebrates the significant contributions of cartoon artists who embody the talent, innovation and humanity of Charles M. Schulz. Past recipients include Schulz himself, Sergio Aragones, Gus Arriola, Carl Barks, Will Eisner, Creig Flessel, Phil Frank, Lou Grant, Chuck Jones, Ward Kimball, Gary Larson, John Lasseter, Stan Lee, Bill Melendez, Dale Messick, John Severin and Morrie Turner.

Live testimonials were given by several notable collaborators of Colan's, including writer Steve Englehart, comic book inkers Steve Leialoha and Joe Rubinstein, and Daniel Cooney, a former pupil of Colan's, who is now a professional comic book artist and a professor at the Academy of Art University. Written testimonials were provided by Mike Richardson and Diana Schutz of Dark Horse Comics, Paul Levitz of DC Comics, and Dean Mullaney of Eclipse Comics, and a video tribute was provided by Colan's longtime friend and collaborator Stan Lee. Mr. Colan was interviewed onstage by noted author Glen David Gold, the lead curator on the Cartoon Art Museum's current tribute exhibition, Colan: Visions of a Man without Fear, which is on display at the Cartoon Art Museum through March 15, 2009.

For more information about Gene Colan, please visit his website,
General information about the exhibition is available at the museum's website,

21 December 2008

Proximity Magazine's Theory Column: Artists Write; DAVID REED: "Jackson Pollock and Piero della Francesca Ride Lonesome"

Proximity magazine number 3 has just been released. One of the features, as mentioned before here, is edited by your friendly EuroShark. I am organizing short theoretical essays from other active artists. The Proximity editors are also gracious enough to allow us to publish the essays on Sharkforum as well as in their magazine. They would love subscribers, though!

This issue and the next issue feature a wonderful two part essay I solicited from renowned NYC painter, David Reed, titled Jackson Pollock and Piero della Francesca Ride Lonesome. Here is the first part ...

Artists Write: Thinking While Making Things

Proximity's first essay for its Theory Series is by the renowned New York painter David Reed. In addition to exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the world he recently helped organize the significant exhibition "High Times - Hard Times, New York Painting 1967-1975." His article will be presented in two parts.

Jackson Pollock and Piero della Francesca Ride Lonesome, Part 1

-- David Reed

As a young painter I went to live and paint in the desert of the Southwest. I was fascinated by the unlimited, unlocated space of Jackson Pollock's paintings and felt that I had found an equivalent in the vistas of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. By painting the Big Space of the landscape I hoped to better understand Pollock's space and learn how to use it in painting. At the time I didn't realize how much my view of this space -- both in the landscape and in Pollock's paintings -- had been determined by the western movies I had seen while growing up.

Budd Boetticher's Ride Lonesome (Ranown/Columbia, 1959) is a spare, 73- minute CinemaScope western, shot in only 12 days. The director of photography is Charles Lawton, Jr., and the script is by Burt Kennedy. It is seventh in a series of eight westerns starring Randolph Scott, directed by Boetticher and produced by Scott, Boetticher and Harry Joe Brown. Westerns are always variations on classic prototypes. The films in this cycle continue classic western themes, yet they also break these traditions in wildly inventive ways. Since the same star, director, producers, writers, and cinematographers worked together in this series, the films are unusually collaborative in conception. Watching this film, one senses the freshness of quick, instinctive decisions.

To be understood, this movie must be seen on a large screen in CinemaScope. Then the screen opens to vision as does a painting by Pollock. The space and light are vast and unlimited, yet the story is very simple. This contrast creates the tensions and meanings in the movie.

The narrative is a journey lasting 72 hours, 3 days and 3 nights. Alternations of day to night and of night to day mark each of the three main locations: the Wells Junction swing station, Dobie's corral, and the hanging tree.

There are six characters in the story, five men and one woman: Ben Brigade (Randolph Scott), Sam Boone (Pernell Roberts), Billy John (James Best), Frank John (Lee Van Cleef), Wid (James Coburn), and Mrs. Lane (Karen Steele).

All the scenes are outdoors, surrounded by swirling dust and distant mountains. There is a visual balance between the human figures and the landscape. Neither dominates. This is like the balanced figure/ground relationship in Jackson Pollock's overall space and it has the same effect. Watching this movie, one is constantly visually alert, scanning the whole landscape and trying to take it all in. One is always aware of how each detail it fits into the whole.

More than most directors of Westerns, Boetticher has an rare appreciation and understanding of horses. They appear in most scenes. The first line is 'spoken' by a horse; the second, to a horse. Horses are as important as the human characters, tying them to the landscape. When Boone proposes to Mrs. Lane, inviting her to live a fantasy life with him on his ranch, she is saddling her horse, and he walks towards her leading his. It's almost as if the horses need to talk and the humans are simply there to help them.

Ride Lonesome is not a psychological western. It's about movement through space, time, location and light. The only interior scene is a view out from the swing station porch. This framed view of the landscape is the fulcrum from which the journey begins. We watch Brigade, Mrs. Lane, Boone, Billy and Wid file by individually. Later we see Frank and the boys ride through the same framed view, repeating the path followed by the others -- one so clear it could be diagrammed.

There are two contrasting locations: Santa Cruz, where Billy is to be turned in, and Boone's homestead in Socorro. The domestic interior life which Boone fantasizes he can live with Mrs. Lane and Wid is unlike anything in the outdoor scenes. However, having viewed the landscape from an interior at the station, we feel Boone can reach his goal.

It's tempting to write of composition when writing of the scenes in this movie, but as in Pollock's paintings, that is really not what is going on. The camera is almost always moving, showing figures from below when close-up and from above when further away. There is a classic CinemaScope scene in which the camera travels alongside Brigade and Boone as they ride talking on horseback. As we move along with them we are aware before they are of the Mescaleros appearing over hills on the far left of the screen. Motion either from the camera or within the scene is what is important, not composition. Boone doesn't just leave a scene, he throws Wid a rifle. We identify with this movement and CinemaScope gives the gesture a remarkable naturalness, as direct and immediate as the gestures in Pollock's paintings.

Just before he charges Brigade in their final showdown, Frank sits motionless on his horse and one notices the trees blowing gently behind him. This movement in the trees, while Frank and Brigade are frozen, has an eerie but naturalistic quality. At this moment of final confrontation we don't identify with the human characters but with the landscape instead.

End of Part 1, to be continued next issue.

20 December 2008

Juliana Beasley, Holiday Print Sale

As Lisa Hunter, the Intrepid Art Collector reports, "here's a treat for serious collectors: Juliana Beasley, heir apparent to Toulouse-Lautrec, is having a holiday print sale. She's selling four images from her series "Last Stop: Rockaway Park" in a nice size (18x18) for $250 to $300.

These images were shown at Freize and are in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. But you don't need to read her CV to know that Beasley's the real deal. This holiday edition is limited to 15 prints, so don't dawdle."

The image is "Leopard Lady" by Juliana Beasley.
See her website for more images.

15 December 2008

Out of Sequence, Krannert Art Museum Video

A super short (2 min. 35 sec.) TV video clip of the exhibition "Out of Sequence: Under Represented Voices in American Comics," which is on exhibition at the University of Illinois' Krannert Art Museum. This video tours the exhibition with its co-curators, Professor John Jennings and PhD candidate Damian Duffy. Mark Staff Brandl's corner Panels painting-installation and Covers paintings in the spinner rack are prominently featured.

01 December 2008

EuroShark Mark Staff Brandl Interviewt auf "Bad at Sports"

The EuroShark ("EuropaHaifisch") wird auf der preisgekrönten Website Bad at Sports interviewt. Wie die auf dem Blog schreiben: "Episode 170: Mark Staff Brandl. Duncan MacKenzie interviewiert Mark "the EuroShark" Staff Brandl, Theoretiker, Kunsthistoriker, Professor, Künstler und Kritiker für Art in America, Sharkforum und Bad at Sports.

The EuroShark is interviewed on the award-winning podcast website Bad at Sports! Episode 170: Mark Staff Brandl. As they write on their blog, "Duncan "the fieldmouse" MacKenzie interviews Mark "The EuroShark" Staff Brandl, theorist, writer, professor, artist, and contributor to Art in America, Sharkforum and Bad at Sports."

Go on over, listen streaming or download the mp3 and listen to it on your iPod. Then join in the discussion! Link: click here!


26 November 2008

Brandl: My Dissertation Begins

This is to announce the beginning post of the on-line, in process, version of my PhD dissertion, which I am writing under the direction of Prof. Philip Urspung at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. My second reader is Prof Andreas Langlotz at the University of Basel, Switzerland.

It will be permanently archived on my website here as well, but I will put each chapter up on the main Sharkforum, with a post linking to that here on Swiss Sharkforum, as I finish them. I would love your comments, criticism, tangential thoughts and more! Please be aware that by commenting here, you are giving me permission to use your words, with proper citation including your name, in some fashion in my final dissertation book and exhibition, which I am planning to do. It's your chance to become a part of and liven up an often unduly stodgy process.

I have separated it into sections which repeat the page divisions in my hard-copy manuscript version. This is both for easier reading and for easy reference between the versions.

Each chapter includes an introductory Cover painting, perhaps other painting(s), sequential comic art page or pages and studies as well as the text.

On the site, comments can be added here.


12 November 2008

Out of Sequence, Krannert Art Museum Podcast

Excerpt of a radio show interview with John Jennings and Damian Duffy touring the Out of Sequence exhibition at Krannert Art Museum in Illinois. For 13 minutes of streaming radio click on the arrow. To download as mp3 click here.

11 November 2008

Economy Meltdown is Art! According to Stephen Colbert

From The Colbert Report, Wednesday, September 24, 2008:

Stephen Colbert: Now why $700,000,000,000 exactly, when these days you can purchase a bank for 3 pounds of ground chuck and an old bicycle wheel? Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke explained...

Ben Bernanke: Just as when you sell a painting at Sotheby's you don't know... nobody knows what it is worth until the auction's over. Then people know what it's worth. I think it's the same thing.

Stephen Colbert: Art is an excellent analogy. Because I think a lot of people are looking at our economy right now and saying, "my five year old could have done that."


06 November 2008

My President Obama !: Barack Obama Becomes America's 44th President

Mark Staff Brandl:
I can finally say that and mean it!
I haven't been so happy about a political event since my childhood. Since the Kennedys, in fact. I stayed up all night here in Switzerland listening to Air America (commentator Ron Reagan!) and checking many sites. Like Jesse Jackson I'm crying with joy and can hardly write, so I've posted Arianna's great piece.
It is indeed time for a new Anerican breakthrough.
God bless and protect President-elect Obama.

"Why All Americans Have Reason to Celebrate"
by Arianna Huffington

Even if your candidate didn't win tonight, you have reason to celebrate. We all do.

Ten months ago, when Obama won in Iowa, we had a glimpse of what was possible and what became real tonight. What I wrote then about one state is now true for the whole country:

Barack Obama's impressive victory says a lot about America, and also about the current mindset of the American voter.

Because tonight voters decided that they didn't want to look back. They wanted to step into the future -- as if a country exhausted by the last seven-plus years wanted to recapture its youth.

And they turned out in unprecedented numbers today to make sure that no amount of scrubbed rolls, malfunctioning machines, endless lines, or polling places running out of ballots would block the way.

The history of America is studded with great breakthroughs -- propelled by leaders such as Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, and Martin Luther King - followed by decades of consolidation and occasional regression.

The Bush years have clearly been in a period of regression. The repudiation of those years is now almost universal. Even conservatives are admitting it; over the course of today, I've received numerous emails from conservatives ending with some variation on "Go Obama!"

In America's journey toward a more just and truly democratic society, tonight is another milestone. And not just because the son of a Kenyan father and a mother from Kansas is now President-Elect. But also because tonight's outcome is a declaration that we are once again a nation more driven by hope and promise than a nation driven by fear.

Bush's re-election in 2004 was a monument to the power of fear. And McCain, his staff stocked with Karl Rove disciples, followed the Bush blueprint and played the fear card again and again.

Be afraid of Obama, the GOP warned us. Be afraid of something new, something different. He would meet with our enemies. His middle name is Hussein. He "pals around with terrorists," consorts with the radicals at Acorn (which is "destroying the fabric of democracy"), and doesn't see America "like you and I see America." A vote for Obama would be "dangerous" and "too risky for America."

The people of America listened, but chose to take the risk. So even if you voted for John McCain; even if you love Sarah Palin, who is still in search of the "pro-American areas of this great nation"; even if are Joe the Plumber - or, hell, even if you are Michele Bachmann - tonight is a night to be proud of America.

Obama's victory holds up a mirror, reflecting the country we are. And it turns out to be the kind of country we've always imagined ourselves being -- even if in the last seven-plus years we fell horribly short: a young country, an optimistic country, a forward-looking country, a country not afraid to take risks or to dream big.

Of course, it will take more than big dreams to help America dig out from the many crises we face. From the global economic crisis to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the day of reckoning is upon us.

But these challenging times also will provide the new president with the opportunity to really transform America. As Gary Hart points out, "Great presidents do not emerge from quiet times; they arise in times of chaos and crisis."

This is an idea that has animated Obama's candidacy from the beginning. As he put it on the stump many times last week:

We began this journey in the depths of winter nearly two years ago, on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. Back then, we didn't have much money or many endorsements. We weren't given much of a chance by the polls or the pundits, and we knew how steep our climb would be. But I also knew this. I knew that the size of our challenges had outgrown the smallness of our politics.

Since that time, the size of our challenges has grown even bigger -- and the smallness of our politics has even downsized McCain from a noble hero to a hack fearmonger.

But over the course of this long and arduous campaign, Obama has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to inspire us to tap into the better angels of our nature -- to stir the American people to expect more of themselves than they otherwise would.

It's a theme Michelle Obama touched on many times on the campaign trail. "Barack Obama will require that you work," she said at a rally on the eve of Super Tuesday. "He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism; that you put down your divisions; that you come out of your isolation; that you move out of your comfort zones; that you push yourself to be better; and that you engage."

This call echoed something that historian and presidential biographer David McCullough had once said about JFK. "The great thing about Kennedy," he told me, "is that he didn't say I'm going to make it easier for you. He said it's going to be harder. And he wasn't pandering to the less noble side of human nature. He was calling on us to give our best."

And when Bobby Kennedy was agonizing over whether or not to run in 1968, he told one of his advisors: "People are selfish. But they can also be compassionate and generous, and they care about the country. But not when they feel threatened. That's why this is such a crucial time. We can go in either direction. But if we don't make a choice soon, it will be too late to turn things around. I think people are willing to make the right choice. But they need leadership. They're hungry for leadership." Forty years later, we are starving for it. Real leadership. Leadership geared to transforming the country.

Tonight is a night to celebrate the victory of a candidate who seized his moment in history and reminded America of its youth and the optimism it longs to recapture. Let's savor it.

The dark years of the Bush regression are almost done. It's time for another American breakthrough.

Read more reaction to Barack Obama's victory in the 2008 presidential election from HuffPost bloggers.

28 October 2008

Eröffnung und Buchvernissage im Transitorischen Museum zu Pfyn und das Amt für Archäologie des Kantons Thurgau
laden zur Museumseröffnung und zur Buchvernissage
"Ad Fines - das spätrömische Kastell Pfyn" ein.

Am 8. November 2008, 19 Uhr in der Trotte Pfyn

Jacqueline Müller, Gemeindeammann
Dr. Hansjörg Brem, Kantonsarchäologe
Mark Staff Brandl, Künstler und Kunsthistoriker

Musik: Arndt Rausch

Anschliessend Apéro riche

Bereits vor anderthalb Jahren vereinbarte mit dem Amt für Archäologie die Schaustücke der Präsentation der archäologischen Funde und Erkenntnisse in der Trotte Pfyn neu zu ordnen und die Sammlung in einer zeitgemässen Form zu zeigen. Die Vitrinen und Tafeln in der Trotte wurden nach dem Umbau der Primarschule eingerichtet und sind seit Mitte der 90er Jahre kaum verändert worden. Die Sammlung ist bei öffentlichen Anlässen, bei Führungen und für die Primarschule zugänglich, bildet allerdings lediglich einen kleinen Teil dessen ab, was in Pfyn an archäologischen Funden zu Tage gefördert wurde.

Die neue Präsentation wird vor allem aus drei mobilen Containern bestehen, die drei Zeitepochen zuzuordnen sind: Jungsteinzeit / Zeit der Pfahlbauer, die spätrömische Zeit des Kastells in Pfyn und das 19., 20. und 21. Jh.Für die Jungsteinzeit und Römerzeit werden einige Funde als Schaustücke in Vitrinen oder durch heraus ziehbare Schautafeln zu bewundern sein. In abschliessbaren Schubladen verbergen sich Beispiele archäologischer Funde, die bei Führungen oder zu gegebenen Anlässen heraus genommen und angefasst werden können, um Geschichte hautnah erlebbar zu machen. Der dritte Container (19.,20.,21.Jh.) wird eine Medienbibliothek, bestückt mit Beispielen aus dem Archiv von sein, die einen Einblick in das Pfyner Leben der jüngeren Vergangenheit gibt und die direkt abgespielt werden kann.

Somit entsteht ein Museum, das mobil ist und transportiert werden kann, das sich temporär als Wunderkammer entfaltet und bei Gebrauch das Publikum zum direkten Kontakt mit Geschichte verführt.

14 October 2008

Lust am Wort

Endlich wieder einmal ein paar Worte aus der Ecke der Slam-Poeten: Es geht ab hier. Denn hier fragt sich niemand was Kunst ist. Hier wird einfach nur produziert. Weil man auch mal scheitern darf.
Poetry Slams und Slam-Shows finden inzwischen überall und oft auch auf Teufel komm raus statt. Wochenenden, an denen in der Schweiz zwei oder gar drei Slams parallel stattfinden, sind keine Seltenheit mehr und die Veranstaltungen sind in der Regel auch nach wie vor gut besucht. Ob am Salon du livre et de la presse in Genf, am Zürcher Sechseläuten, im Lokalradio und -fernsehen oder sogar am Open Air St.Gallen, überall wurde dieses Jahr geslammt und mit Worten jongliert.
CD’s werden aufgenommen; in der Ostschweiz gibt’s diesen Herbst und Winter gar drei wichtige Pressungen: NERV #15 erscheint mit den besten Aufnahmen der Grabenhallen-Slams, Renato Kaiser, zurzeit eindeutig einer der erfolgreichsten Slam-Poeten, tauft demnächst seine Solo-CD und der Verlag der gesunde Menschenversand bringt zusammen mit solarplexus eine Doppel-CD-Anthologie „10 Jahre Poetry Slam Schweiz“ heraus.
Geht also ganz schön ab und dabei darf man ruhig auch die Qualität in Fragen stellen, darum geht es ja bei einem Wettbewerb und oft ist ein Poetry Slam auch eine Probierbühne, Texte im Publikumsversuch halt. Was Poetry Slam aber sicherlich für sich in Anspruch nehmen kann, ist, dass Literaturlesungen wieder an Attraktivität gewonnen haben. Weil Slam vor allem Wert auf die Lust am gesprochenen Wort legt und nun langsam alle gemerkt haben, dass Vorlesen und Vortragen auch ein Teil der Kunst ist.

Der Höhepunkt der performativen Literatur des Jahres 2008 steht aber noch an: Denn im November, im November da brennt Züri. Vom 19. bis 22. November wird im Schiffbau um die Dichterkrone des deutschsprachigen Poetry Slam geslammt. Über vier Tage, mit 250 Slammern aus Deutschland, Österreich, Liechtenstein und der Schweiz wird in drei Disziplinen, über Vorrunden und Halbfinals und mit einem fetten Rahmenprogramm an insgesamt über 30 Veranstaltungen das gesprochene Wort zelebriert. Unbedingt reinschauen da. Die letzten Meisterschaften waren nämlich 2002 in der Schweiz, das passiert also nicht so schnell wieder, und die Stimmung an einem International-Slam muss man einfach mal erlebt haben. Der SLAM2008 ist das grosse Familientreffen der Szene, an dem es nicht um grosse Preise geht. Die Sieger erhalten ausser einem kleinen Pokal nämlich tätsächlich nichts. Es geht um Ruhm und Ehre und einfach nur die Lust am Wort, selbst bei der grössten Slam-Veranstaltung in Europa.

Mehr zum SLAM2008, den deutschsprachigen Meisterschaften unter
Mehr zu Poetry Slam in der Schweiz unter

09 October 2008

Max: Bitte! Wer sagt mir endlich, was Kunst ist?

Um die Frage einer Definition von Kunst drücken sich, seit die Moderne in die Postmoderne überging und die allgemeine Beliebigkeit ausgerufen wurde, so ziemlich alle im Kunstbetrieb, allen voran die Künstler. Die Autonomie der Kunst als grosses Postulat brachte uns die Möglichkeit in alle und jede Richtung zu experimentieren und in einem erweiterten Duchamp’schen Sinne alles an Kunst anzunehmen, was von einem Künstler gemacht, berührt oder signiert wurde. Wie weit dies gehen kann illustrieren Künstler wie Gregor Schneider oder Marco Evaristi in aktuelleren Arbeiten, zu denen sie sich Fragen zu den guten Sitten und des guten Geschmacks stellen lassen müssen, denn eigentlich geht es bei diesen Arbeiten weniger um die Diskussion der Kunstwerke oder eventueller psychischer Probleme der Künstler, als um grundsätzliche Überlegungen zu unserer Toleranz gegenüber dem aktuellen Kunstbegriff.

Provokation ist eine legitime Methode zeitgenössischer Kunst, die vor allem mit einschliesst, dass sich Künstler einer gewissen Medienaufmerksamkeit gewiss sein können. Zu unserer alltäglichen Medienwirklichkeit gehören auch das ungeschriebene Gesetz, dass lauter, schriller und exzentrischer Schreien muss, wer gehört werden will. Nur ist dies nicht automatisch gleichbedeutend mit der notwendigen Praxis, ein Publikum an das Werk von Künstlern heranzuführen und auch das Drumherum, die Ideen und Beweggründe zu betrachten: Fernsehen bedeutet Quote, schnelle, kurze prägnante Informationen – wenn sich Kunst darauf herunter dividieren lässt, muss sie auch die Frage ertragen, ob dies denn nun alles gewesen sei.
(Oft genug ist es noch nicht einmal notwendig diese Frage überhaupt zu stellen.)

Provokation ist Vermittlung light – wenn sie klappt, hat jeder schon mal davon gehört; vage vielleicht, ohne Namen oder nähere Umstände. Aus Medienkreisen kenne ich die ketzerische Frage, ob es denn wirklich mehr braucht als einen Reisser. Die Vermittlung von Kunst, der Zugang zu den grundlegenden Ideen wurde von uns Künstlern über lange Jahre grundsätzlich abgelehnt – entweder als nicht notwendig oder als unnötig und mit grossen Gesten manischer Genialität belegt. Wer wollte den vergötterten Denker in seiner Haltung und seinem Fluss der grossen Ideen stören für die profane Frage: Was das Alles denn nun solle?

Geführt hat dies letztendlich zu einer Situation, die so verfahren ist, wie die Finanzmarkt- und Bankenkrise und die düstere Bilder an die Wand malt, über den Nutzen, das Fortbestehen oder auch die grundsätzliche Legitimität der Kunst an sich. Auch wenn diese Fragen offen aus konservativen Kreisen über den Stammtisch geplärrt werden – ist es so verkehrt sich als Künstler ab und an die grundsätzliche Sinnfrage über Tun und Sein zu stellen?
„Die Kunst darf alles“ ist, wenn man den Satz genau betrachtet ein absoluter Freibrief und er ist nicht weit entfernt von der Vorstellung, die uns von Wirtschaftsexperten gerne beigebracht wurde, dass der Markt schon alles regeln werde. Was ist „die Kunst“ und was ist „der Markt“? oder vielleicht besser gefragt: Wer sind die beiden?

Kunst und Markt sind gleichermassen substantivierte gesellschaftliche Abläufe und Prozesse, denen wir aus Gründen unserer historischen und gesellschaftlichen Entwicklungen der letzten Jahrhunderte absprechen wollten, dass sie einen Zusammenhang mit Personen oder Personengruppen haben. Wir gestanden Kunst und Markt eine grosse Freiheit zu einem dynamisch-kreativen Entwicklungsprozess zu, der sich von alleine steuert, um das Neue nicht zu behindern und der Innovation die absolute Freiheit zur Entwicklung, zur Entfaltung und zur Ausbreitung zu bieten und dieser grundsätzlich sehr positive und – fast möchte ich sagen schwärmerische – Grundgedanke, gedacht in einer liberalen freiheitlichen Grundhaltung hätte an sich auch funktionieren können, wenn wir Menschen nicht wären, wie wir Menschen sind:
An positiven und guten Ideen durchaus interessiert und auch bereit diese zu tragen, aber bei freien Möglichkeiten auch immer schnell bereit, zuerst an die eigenen Schäfchen und das eigene Brot auf dem Tisch zu denken, statt an die Allgemeinheit und durchaus auch bereit von solcher Freiheit zu profitieren. Sprich, nachdem sich „die Kunst“ oder auch „der Markt“ als Institution verselbständigten, gab es auch Personen, die merkten, dass sich beide steuern liessen – zu welchen Gunsten oder welchen Profiten auch immer. Sankt Florian, Sankt Florian!

Für die Kunst bedeutete dies, dass sich, da Künstler mehr mit sich selber und der Arbeit an ihren Werken beschäftigt waren und sich nur sehr selten auch um die Vermittlung kümmerten, Kuratoren und Kunstvermittler in die Bresche sprangen und sich mit der Zeit zu Kulturmanagern etablierten, die nur zu gern die Vermarktung und Verbreitung übernahmen. Nur: Dienstleister übernehmen nie die Verantwortung für etwas ausserhalb der Dienstleistung an sich, dass heisst, dass Kunst zwar vermittelt wurde, dass Kunst auch marktfähig gemacht wurde oder auf Marktfähigkeit untersucht wurde, dass die Strategien, wie dies geschehen kann, überlegt wurden – aber alles ohne Rückwirkung auf die Kunst im Sinne einer eindeutigen Bedeutungszuweisung. So wurden Kunstwerke und Künstler Werkzeuge in der Hand von Akteuren, die sich nur bedingt der Kunst als kulturellem Wertgefüge verpflichtet fühlen mussten und müssen, sich dafür aber umso mehr mit der eigenen Karriere oder marktorientierten Fragen nach Branding, gezielter Provokation oder medialer Aufmerksamkeitsmöglichkeiten bewusst wurden.

Die Frage nach dem, was Kunst ist, entzieht sich durch die bewusste Offenheit jeglicher Definition und gibt zugleich alle Möglichkeiten in die Hand, im Hintergrund zu steuern, was als Kunst zugelassen wird. Eine offene Auswahl kann sich kein Dienstleister leisten, denn die Proteste aus den Lagern, die herausfallen, wären eindeutig zu gross und zu laut. Gleichzeitig kann jedem, der die Grundsatzfrage äussert, unterstellt werden, ein Ignorant und Hinterwäldler zu sein, der zu dumm ist, die grosse und unendliche Schönheit der Freiheit der Kunst anzuerkennen und das grösste und wichtigste Gut unserer Kultur angreifen zu wollen. Gleichzeitig bietet dies die Möglichkeit, all jene zu vertrösten, die nicht am grossen Kuchen mitessen dürfen, denn auch ihre Arbeit ist schön und gut und kann vermittelt, präsentiert und verwendet werden, ohne über die Stränge zu schlagen.

Schön und gut: nur wozu hat dies geführt? Wir Künstler machen Kunst, aber wissen wir, ob das Kunst ist, was wir machen? Kuratoren stellen Kunst aus, aber wissen sie, ob das Kunst ist was sie ausstellen? Galeristen verkaufen Kunst, aber wissen sie, ob das Kunst ist, was sie verkaufen? Sammler sammeln Kunst, aber wissen sie, ob sie wirklich Kunst sammeln?
Eigentlich befinden wir uns in einer geheimen Sesamstrasse, in der das Tagesmotto noch nicht verkündet wurde und alles immer PSSSSSST macht. Warten auf die Kunst – vielleicht wird sie noch kommen.

So schön, so tragisch. Das gefährlichste in dieser Entwicklung ist allerdings dies: dass uns Künstlern, die wir die Verantwortung über das, was Kunst ist, mit dem Hinweis auf die Freiheit der Kunst weit von uns gewiesen haben, so klammheimlich auch die Möglichkeit abhanden gekommen ist, festzulegen, was wir als Kunst definieren und dass uns damit auch das Recht dazu inzwischen gerne abgesprochen wird. Wir haben uns mit dieser Entwicklung einlullen und schön langsam entmündigen lassen und sind nun auf Gedeih und Verderb dem Kunstbetrieb und dessen Mechanismen ausgeliefert.
Wir schauen gerade zu, wie es im Finanzbereich knirscht und kracht – im Prinzip könnte es eine solche ideelle Implosion im Kunstbetrieb auch geben und dann will es auch keiner gewesen sein. Mich interessiert allerdings die Frage, wo die Alternativen liegen, die uns aus dem Problem herausführen können.

Wie reagieren die einzelnen Teile des Ganzen? Der Kunstmarkt funktioniert nach eigenen Bedürfnissen. Er schafft sich seine Stars, die zu Schwindel erregenden Preisen gehandelt werden, ob sie es wert sind oder nicht. Die grossen Sammler vertrauen auf die Galeristen, die ihre Auswahl den Bedingungen des Marktes anpassen, denn auch die Sammler wollen Sicherheit. In diesen Tross reihen sich neureiche Möchtegerns ein, die die Preise nach oben treiben und die Nachfrage steigern, wobei materieller und ideeller Wert der Kunst auch immer zwei paar Stiefel bleiben, meinen sie doch damit das Prestige erkaufen zu können, das ihnen so sehr fehlt. Der Kunstbedarf der Sammler ist in den letzten Jahrzehnten grösser geworden, da sich auch die Gattung der Sammler vermehrt hat. Zur Innovation der Kunst hat diese Gattung allerdings nicht viel beitragen können. Galeristen haben sich vermehrt darauf spezialisiert Sammler und den Markt zu bedienen und sich verabschiedet aus der Nachwuchsförderung: Lieber betrachten sie den langsamen Aufstieg von Künstlern und greifen dann im richtigen Moment zu, als dass sie sich selber die Hände schmutzig und das Portemonnaie leer machen um in junge Talente zu investieren. Kunstschulen begreifen sich als Ausbildungsstätten und haben in den letzten Jahren auch entdeckt, dass es von Vorteil ist, Kunststudenten Informationen zum Überleben mitzugeben, in sich sind sie allerdings nach wie vor nur so gut wie ihre Lehrer…

Durch alternative Kunsträume, freie Kuratoren und Initiativen ausserhalb des Kunstbetriebs bieten sich heutzutage den Künstlern vermehrt Möglichkeiten, den Kunstmarkt zu umgehen und eigene Wege zu suchen. Künstler haben zunehmend begonnen Kunst zu schaffen, die nicht sammelbar, der Allgemeinheit verpflichtet oder in sozialen Kontexten agierend funktioniert und somit den Kunstbegriff an nicht kontrollierbaren Ecken erweitert. Wirklich interessante Initiativen sind in diesem Bereich entstanden, die durchaus auch vermehrt Eingang in repräsentative Ausstellungen finden, von Ausstellungsmachern gefördert oder in den Medien wahrgenommen werden. Und doch werden diese mit Vorsicht und Zurückhaltung betrachtet, erscheinen doch solche Strategien als weniger Kunst, als die simplen Provokationen angesagter Künstler, über die man auf Partys vorsichtig das Näschen rümpfen kann.

Für den Kunstmarkt und den grössten Teil des Kunstbetriebs sind ihre Bezeichnungen Programm: Sie sind von sich aus wertkonservativ und reagieren nur sehr langsam auf neue Entwicklungen. Es wird noch einige Zeit dauern, bis in diesen Bereichen anerkannt werden wird, wo das Innovationspotential und die neuen Ideen für Kunst liegen, denn auch Künstler sind nicht vor der Versuchung gefeit, zuerst darauf zu schauen, dass das eigene Auskommen gesichert ist, weswegen sich viele innovative Konzepte mit der Zeit verlieren und vielleicht auch verwässern. Und doch ist ein solches Handeln zutiefst anachronistisch.

Eigentlich ist es doch seltsam, dass der Kunstbetrieb sich als monetäres Elitariat entwickelt hat, dessen Wurzeln in vordemokratischen Systemen der vorigen Jahrhunderte zu finden sind: Kunstwerke als autonome Unikate können nur von wenigen erworben werden und verhelfen den Käufern / Sammlern zu einem besseren Image, das mit kulturellen Werten verbunden ist. Firmen und vermögende Sammler haben die Funktionen der Fürsten und des Klerus aus früheren Jahrhunderten nur zu gerne übernommen und generieren sich als grosszügige Mäzene des Kunstsystems, die Vorarbeit für die Zukunft leisten, um solche Werke zu kaufen und zu bewahren. Kunstwerke sind für Wenige gemacht – nicht für die Massen und auch aus der Kunstwelt wird das Laienvolk gerne immer noch als Horde von uninteressierten Banausen betrachtet, dass lieber Jahrmarktattraktionen hinterher läuft, als kulturell wertvollen Werken. Ob die Wirklichkeit auch immer noch so aussieht, wage ich zu bezweifeln, denn Besucherzahlen von Ausstellungen oder Grossevents wie der DOCUMENTA, der ART Basel und anderen könnten dem durchaus widersprechen.

Kunst in einem demokratischen Gesellschaftssystem hat die Berechtigung anders auszusehen, aufzutreten und zu wirken, als Kunst unter einer Monarchie oder der Diktatur der Kirche.

Tut dies unsere zeitgenössische Kunst wirklich?

Ich wage dies zu bezweifeln und glaube, dass sich hier ein grosses Entwicklungspotential verbirgt, das auch Änderungen für unser demokratisches gesellschaftliches Selbstverständnis bedeutet. Demokratische Künstler können sich nicht egomanisch-genial verhalten, ohne von einer Mehrheit verachtet zu werden. Vielleicht werden wir in Zukunft weniger dem Starkult huldigen und immer das Einzigartige in Wenigen suchen, wenn wir begreifen, dass Demokratie ein absolutes Miteinander bedeutet, das durch Mehrheiten regiert wird. Minderheiten werden dann wohl anerkannt, nur können sie sich nicht mehr zu Alleinherrschern aufschwingen, denn das Gebot der Demokratie bleibt der Kompromiss.
Eine demokratische Gesellschaft braucht eine aktive kulturelle Szene – nur braucht sie auch eine kulturelle Szene, die die Grundwerte dieser Gesellschaft akzeptiert und verinnerlicht und mit und aus dieser Gesellschaft heraus agiert. Dann kann man auch wieder auf die Kunst schauen und diese ausgiebig diskutieren, denn, Hand aufs Herz:

Wenn wir in den Medien von Aktionen, Ausstellungen oder Taten von Hirst, Koons und Konsorten hören: Lassen wir uns von deren Kunst inspirieren oder doch nur von den Namen der grossen Künstler beeindrucken?

28 September 2008

Das perfekte Leben

matthias kuhn/alex meszmer
das perfekte leben - fragmente einer anatomie menschlicher strategien
performativer vortrag

mittwoch, 1. oktober 2008, 19 uhr
kunstmuseum solothurn
werkhofstrasse 30, ch-4500 solothurn

matthias kuhn und alex meszmer präsentieren mit «das perfekte leben - fragmente einer anatomie menschlicher strategien» - nach «travelogue, suchen statt finden oder, wo sind wir wenn wir reisen» und «eine geografie des unerklärlichen» - den dritten teil der trilogie ihrer performativen vorträge und sezieren die menschliche physis, erforschen die menschliche psyche und suchen menschliche strategien in den weiten des sozialen lebens zu deuten. damit führt der letzte teil nach ausgedehnten reisen durch die welt und die galaxies ganz zum menschen zurück.

der vortrag führt wieder eine vielzahl von werken der literatur- und filmgeschichte zusammen, spielt songs der popgeschichte an und versucht nichts weniger, als alles zu einem feinen geflecht zusammenzubringen und zu verweben. dabei trifft der heilige gral ganz selbstverständlich auf heinz von förster und hildegard von bingen auf thomas bernhard ... und so führt der exkurs am schluss auch folgerichtig wieder an den anfang zurück, ins paradies und damit selbstverständlich zu den fragen nach dem glück und dem sinn des lebens.

25 September 2008

Brandl in Chicago and Champaign Art Museum, Soon!


I, Mark Staff Brandl, will be in the US in October and would love to see you -- and show you work. The dates and contact info ---

OPENING (vernissage, apero)
SHARKPIT (Wesley Kimler's Studio)
THURSDAY OCTOBER 16 from 7:30 - 11:00 pm (or so)
a small SHOW of littler works

After that a very large painting-installation in

Champaign, Illinois
THURSDAY OCTOBER 23 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm
(Wherein I will also give a "gallery conversation")

YOU ARE INVITED! Please come to one or both.

More info ---

I will be in Chicago from Monday October 13th through morning of Friday October 17th.

I will be in Champaign, Illinois installing the piece(s) from Friday October 17th through the morning of Saturday October 25th, that day pm I will fly home to Zurich.

I will be staying at:

(In Chicago:)
Wesley Kimler's Studio
2046 W. Carroll
Chicago, IL USA 60612
Shark phone: 312 942-9078

(In Champaign:)
The Lindley House
312 W. Green St.
Urbana, IL 61801
Phone: 217-384-4800

I can be contacted through
Wesley Kimler 312 942-9078

Christine Saniat
Assistant Registrar
University of Illinois
Krannert Art Museum
500 E. Peabody Drive
Champaign, IL 61820


Chris Schaede
Office Administrator
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Krannert Art Museum MC-592
500 E. Peabody Dr.
Champaign, IL 61820

18 September 2008

Beat Kriemler Sculpture for New Orleans

(Image: Kriemler's Sculpture at the Olympics in China)

After 7 months of planning and preparation to participate in the international sculpture exhibition: Sculpture for New Orleans , my monumental steel sculpture "Current" is since today on its way to the crescent city New Orleans. Together with second participating Swiss sculptor Carlo Bürgi, we delivered our artwork to the port of Antwerpen last week.

The concept for the exhibition Sculpture for New Orleans is the brain child of New Orleans native sculptor Michael Manjarris. . After Hurricane Katharina demolitioned vast parts of the "Big Easy", leaving the city devasted and half deserted, Manjarris who now lives in Texas wanted to help bring back the spirit and the people to his former hometown. Together with friends and patrons, ranging from artists, buisness people, galleries, museums, private individuals and city officals, Sculpture for New Orleans came into being. Read indept article on the exhibition: PUBLIC TREASURE- . To support this idea as well as my practise I follow Michael's invitation and send my sculpture to New Orleans.

Since winter 2007, the 2 year sculpture program featuring many of the world's recognized sculptors, including Louise Burgeouis, Mark di Suvero, Alexander Calder and others, places arriving sculptures at a 3 to 5 week intervals. My sculpture "Current" is expected to arrive in New Orleans October 17. 2008. As I keep you updated.

All the Best to you, Beat Kriemler

Liebe Freunde der Skulptur

Nach 7 Monaten der Plannung und Vorbereitung für die Teilnahme an der internationalen Skulpturen Ausstellung Sculpture for New Orleans, habe ich letzten Freitag zusammen mit Carlo Bürgi, zweiter an der Ausstellung teilnehmender Schweizer Bildhauer, meine Grossplastik "Current" zum Antwerpener Hafen gebracht. Seit heute sind unser Kunstwerke unterwegs nach New Orleans.

Konzeptualisert hat die Ausstellung der in New Orleans geborene und aufgewachsene Bildhauer Michael Manjarris. . Nachdem Hurricane Katharina New Orleans verwüstet und entvölkert hatte wollte Manjarris etwas dazu beitragen den Stolz, die Lebensfreude, und die Menschen zurück in seine ehemalige Heimatstadt zu bringen.
Zusammen mit Freunden, Mäzenen und Gönnern, die von Künstlern, Geschäftsleuten, Galerien, Museen, bis zu Privatleuten und Stadtvertretern reichen, rief der heute in Texas lebende Manjarris Sculpture for New Orleans ins Leben. Lesen Sie einen Presse Bericht in Englisch dazu PUBLIC TREASURE- . Aus diesem Grund, aber auch um meine künstlerische Karriere voranzubringen folge ich Michael's Einladung und schicke meine Stahl-Plastik "Current" nach New Orleans. Seit dem Winter letztes Jahres werden im Abstand von 3 - 5 Wochen die ankommenden Skulpturen international bekannter Künstler wie: Louise Burgeouis, Mark di Suvero, Alexander Calder und Anderer in der Innenstadt von New Orleans aufgebaut. Meine Plastik wird um den 17 Oktober 2008 erwartet. ich halte Sie wie auf dem Laufenden.

mit freundlichen Grüssen,

Beat Kriemler
Postfach 59
CH 9213 Hauptwil
++41 71422 11 05

27 August 2008

James Kalm: Jonathan Lasker

A video report on Jonathan Lasker's recent paintings at Cheim & Read Gallery, Chelsea.

31 July 2008

Art Basel & UBS Come Under IRS & Senate Investigation

The United States Tax Authority IRS (Steuerbehörde) has asked the Swiss government to aid in the investigation of International Banking & Investment group UBS and their overseas tax havens programs which some have reported amount to intentional tax evasion and fraud.

Art Basel is mentioned as the go to location for foreign employees of UBS to illegally recruit wealthy individuals to help them avoid reporting billions of US dollars in assets. Clients were at times told to use code words when communicating with UBS. Testimony states that roughly 80 UBS bankers traveled to the US 4-6 times a year to pitch the bank’s secretive services to clients at upscale events as Miami’s annual Art Basel fair.

The bankers used encrypted computers, devised codes for their clients’ identities, told Customs agents the trips were for vacations, notbusiness, and advised clients to place jewelry, paintings and other assets in Swiss safe deposit boxes, Birkenfeld testified in June, when he pleaded guilty to helping California billionaire Igor Olenicoff evade $7.2 million in U.S. taxes.

Former LGT computer technician Heinrich Kieber helped tax investigators around the world flesh out those statistics by handing over data on approximately 1,400 of the bank’s clients.

Kieber is in hiding as Liechtenstein authorities seek him on charges of violating secrecy laws.

06 July 2008

Interview with Mark Staff Brandl at myartspace>blog

Brian Sherwin, artist and art blogger has interviewed me, the EuroShark for his website, myartspace>blog. Sherwin, originally from Illinois and now living in California, has conducted and published a series of interviews with visual artists including William T. Wiley and others. You can read his piece with me here.

The newest interviews appear here.

AUCH NEU gibt es ein kurzes Video Interview mit MSB auf Deutsch auf youtube hier.

You can also still access the recorded radio podacst interview Jason Miner did on Comic Book Talk Radio with MSB here.

17 June 2008

Brandl and El Farra: Basel Art Fair Radio Podcast

A Bad at Sports Basel Art Fair Overdose!

The intro and outro are extra creepy this week. Highlights(?) include Duncan talking about some fantasy involving wearing tight short shorts and Teena McClelland!!! Tom Burtonwood interrupts the recording by shooting rubber bands. Chaos!

After Richard and Duncan are done making a mess of things, the real pros come in and present a fantastic report from Basel.

Lamis El Farra, emerging artist, and the EuroShark Mark Staff Brandl, seemingly perennially emerging black sheep artist, traverse and discuss the entirety of the King of Art Fairs, Art Basel. Yes: the Fair Itself, Art Statements, Art Unlimited, Scope, and the Solo Project. They only missed Liste and Print Basel. Sorry, but all the rest was already enough. Of course they were at the VIP opening (ahem) and managed to talk to more people than you can shake a stick at: artists, gallerists, museum directors, curators, critics, art magazine editors, fair organizers, all the hangers-on, …er…, important elements of the international artworld.


Name Drops:

Gerhard Mack
Herzog and de Meuron
Schaulager Basel
Andrea Zittel and Monika Sosnowska
Vitra Design Museum
Rem Koolhaas
Basel Art Statements
Basel Art Unlimited
Marc Spiegler
Thomas Hirschhorn
Roland Waespe
Kunstmuseum St. Gallen
Udo Kittelman
The Rolf Ricke Collection
Dave Muller
Three Day Weekend
Florian Berktold
Hauser and Wirth
Mary Heilmann
Subodha Gupta
Dan Graham
Pippilotti Rist
Christoph Buechel
Tony Wuetrich
Hanspeter Hofmann
Leiko Ikemura
Leonard Bullock
Florian Suessmayr
Leipziger Schule
Neo Rauch
Boers-Li Gallery
Qiu Xiaofei
Alex Meszmer / Reto Mueller (Zeitgarten)
Elizabeth C. Baker
Art in America
Chaim Soutine
Museum fuer Gegenwartskunst Basel
Kunsthaus Zurich
Ferdinand Leger
Museum Tinguely
Gary Justis
Marcia Vetrocq
Glen O’Brien
Raphael Rubinstein
Interview magazine
The Magazine Antiques
Museum der bildenden Kuenste Leipzig
Gunther Sachs
Berlin Biennale
Faye Hirsch
Ellsworth Kelly
David Zwirner Gallery
Greg Kwiatek
Paul Bloodgood
Galerie Karin Sutter
Beyeler Gallery
Next Fair
David Reed
Erik Colan
Wesley Kimler
Scope Art Fair
Emma Biggs and Matthew Collings
Carrie Secrist Gallery
Loreen Hospodar
Kelly Chen
Art Chicago
Petroc Sesti
Robert Standish
Römerapotheke Galerie Zurisch
Philippe Rey
Filiale Galerie Berlin
Vera Ida Mueller
Solo Project
Stephanie Sherga
Hans Gieles
Vous Etes Ici Gallery Amsterdam
Martijn Schuppers
Olivier Houg Galerie Lyon
Mathias Schmied

16 June 2008

Death of the artist (again)
Freedom's just another word for nothing left to loose

Nothing, I mean nothing honey if it ain't free, no no

Yeah feeling good was easy Lord when he sang the blues

You know feeling good was good enough for me

Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee.

Kris Kristofferson 'Me and Bobby McGhee' Lyrics

A money culture wants the figures, the bottom line, the sales, the response, it wants a return on its investment, it wants more money.

Art can offer no obvious return. Its rate of exchange is energy, for energy, intensity for intensity. The time you spend on art is the time it spends with you; there are no short cuts, no crash courses, no fast tracks. There is only the experience.

Jeanette Winterson - ‘What is art for?’ - Guardian 2002

Where are we now? - the bigger picture

Arts planning and funding in the U.K. has been thrown into turmoil by two or three concurrent factors. One a slowdown (pace - 'recession') globally which may well remove the Labour Party from power in the next two years.

Two a diversion of a significant amount of lottery funding to the Olympics (even if there were no Olympics to pay for the income from lottery is in a downward spiral).

Thirdly a cut-throat bottom-line cash-driven business model in arts education that is pumping out a hundred fine art graduates per institution into the muddy waters of U.K. Creative Industries PLC. Even the most hard-nosed ACE administrator realises that the gravy will be spread thinner and thinner soon on some very poor fare...

Where are all these new 'geniuses' going to go?

'Free Enterprise'?

So here I am 50 years old and advocating 'Freemium' policies, freecycle marketing and not-for-profit artists organisation and pressure-groups. I must, therefore, be mad?

I honestly believe this is the only sensible way forward...the arts council's golden goose has probably laid its last golden eggs for a while in terms of low-end funding..

For new models perhaps we should look to American free enterprise models that are not based on 'state funding'. We need enterprise, imagination and communal enterprise to survive this recession.

Nottingham was the base for the East Midlands Group in the 1970's that survived and prospered because all of those things..not just because it was state-funded. It high time that artists stopped 'competing' like so many little businesses for government 'largesse' and actually started producing high quality work people actually might want to take an interest in.

This starts with reskilling our fine arts graduates instead of spilling them out with pretentious notions and badly conceived ideas of being the next Damien Hirst or Tracey Emin. Removing the skills base was one of the tragedies of the past two decades of art education.

GLOBAL/LOCAL?? Digital freedom?

The free market is dominant to a degree we have never seen before and it destroying not only local communities but the old 'communla' bonds between creative individuals. Grants and lip-service cannot change the digital wrecking ball creating havoc with creative copyright. Protecting one's work digitally is impossible. All creative output can be copied and distributed freely...those who do not accept this are swimming against a very strong tide.

The only 'saleable' commodity left to the artist is his/her own ideas and experience and the 'authenticity' of thenpersonal appearances..or substitute appearances in shows etc. Crafts practitioners are strong on the 'authentic and personal' properties that sell items but fine artists no longer are because of recent changes in fashion. To have abandoned traditional skills just at the point where they are most needed is madness. I call this kind of art and skills based production 'slow art' to differentiate from the internet's dissemination of 'fast food art'. This 'fast art' is eroding the market for all the arts...

A 'near-perfect' copy of a Francis Bacon can be painted in China in the time I have taken to write this evaluation why bother being Francis Bacon any more the students argue..we have ideas...such wonderful ideas....Indeed all 100 have wonderful is putting them into 'practice' literally that requires skills and understanding as well as ideas.

Some digital artists are already 'outsourcing' their creative output to others on a massive scale..just like companies.

It began with YBA's (Hirst and co. had most 'artifacts' 'made-up' for them) now everyone's doing it...especially those students coached early in their career in networking and the 'wow factor'.

Students are no longer taught to make paints or stretch a canvas or cast bronze ..we have entered a period of 'Warholian' education.

True 'authenticity' is in short supply now and Fordism is a more relevant philosphy to artists now than the 'Van Gogh' suffer and paint model..ironically both he and Picasso engaged in bartering - swapping paintings for food and drink when ca change....

Everything else in the arts has been up for grabs since the internet was invented.

To paraphrase Kris Kristofferson in 'Me and Bobby McGhee'.....
Freedom's just another word for nothing left to sell.

Nothing ain't worth nothing less it's free

We are all living in the freemium economy.

13 June 2008

Moogee in Baltimore..


‘Conrad Atkinson Remix 1978-2008′ by Moogee the Art Dog

has been selected for ‘Penned’

at the Pinkard Gallery, Bunting Center, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore

An exhibition of pen and/or marker drawings including photographs of the pens used to make them. The more than 100 drawings in this exhibition cover a broad range of pens from the generic ball point to the traditional rapid-o-graph and feather quill to the modern array of jell and artists’ pens.

This exhibition will travel to Ellipse Arts Center, Arlington, VA and Lump Gallery/Projects, Raleigh, NC and possible other galleries in the coming years.

Artscape Baltimore Website

27 May 2008

Trailer Star on Songs Illinois Music Blog

Well respected music blog features Trailer Star album...

Songs Illinois

New song/record from Ron Sexsmith - “Exit Strategy For The Soul” (Yep Roc, July 8) (plus Trailer Star from England)May 21st, 2008

I’m always talking the talk about over-produced records and how something lofi is usually ultimately more satisfying. Well today we walk the walk with the new record from Trailer Star aka Shaun Belcher. This arrived unannounced in my inbox by way of England. Shaun Belcher is a singer songwriter along the lines of our own Jim White. That means he’s concerned with sin and salvation and creates folk music that has a southern gothic feel to it. To go along with the music Shaun creates original artwork that is clearly influenced by the folk art of the deep south. Here’s his song “Firework Factory” and the artwork that goes with it.Suit of Nettles is the new record and the limited edition cd can be purchased from the trailerstar records website.

25 May 2008

Art Radio Podcast from Corinne Schatz's Birthday Party

This weeksBAD AT SPORTS art-radio podcast show from the US is as long as your arm and brimming with what you need to know about the art world around you…

It’s a three shows for the price of one deal!!!

First Duncan takes on the Chicago Artist Coalition to find out, what they do and
what business they have publishing a magazine.

Next,Terri and Serena talk to David Adjaye and Cydney Payton at The Museum of Contemporary Art: Denver
and figure out how you go about building a museum.

As if that was not enough, Mark Staff Brandl our European Chief checks in to remind us
how important it is to be a member of a community.

The EuroShark, Mark, temporarily sans his new partner Lamis El Farra, goes to the 50th birthday party of the most important art historian of contemporary art in East Switzerland,
Corinne Schatz.

Much of the regional art scene, from famous to lesser well-known was
there. Brandl ambushes and steamrolls many of them into making
off-the-cuff comments about Corinne, something Swiss people absolutely
hate. They prefer to brood over answers for a long time, making
certain they are not stepping on any feet. Fortunately, almost
everyone here played along good-naturedly, even if no one answered the
million-dollar question, “Why should Corinne write a huge damn
monograph about you and your art?” Look for serious interviews with
many of these artists in the future, so let this serve as a
superficial introduction.


Names dropped and Interviewees include:

Corinne Schatz
Marianne Schatz
Marlis Pekarek
Josef Felix Mueller
Urs Eberli
Clemens Mueller
Rachel Lumsden
Elisabeth Nembrini
Elisabeth Keller-Schweizer
Ursula Badrutt Schoch

23 May 2008

Post-Event Artworld Arising (Slowly?); C. Knight on Matthew Barney's 'REN'

Finally, an important critic takes a clear stance on "Event Art." Will the Consensus Curatorial World that feeds on such events be analyzed soon too?

Christopher Knight of the LA Times dissected Matthew Barney's 'REN' in a recent article.

"Cliches Abound"

"The first mistake Matthew Barney made in his corny two-hour performance, "REN," at a Santa Fe Springs car lot Sunday night, was in the choice of starring automobile. The 1967 Chrysler Imperial had obvious meanings.

The year is the artist's birth date. The make is Manhattan's iconic skyscraper, a star of Barney's five-part film, "The Cremaster Cycle." Lastly, the journey from Vietnam to Iraq in America's imperialist adventures abroad was spelled out on the car's front grille.

It was that kind of night. Clichés were practically announced via bullhorn to several hundred invitation-only guests. So provincial was the vision of the West that a better headline star would have been a 1967 Chrysler New Yorker. "


"Consider the interminable event over not on the day the troops come home from Baghdad or a replacement for a petroleum-based economy is found, but on the night the Chrysler Imperial's car hood shows up on the turntable at Christie's auction house."

Read the rest here

14 May 2008

Robert Rauschenberg Passes Away

Michael Kimmelman of The New York Times reports that "Robert Rauschenberg, the irrepressibly prolific American artist who time and again reshaped art in the 20th century, died on Monday night at his home on Captiva Island, Fla. He was 82.

The cause was heart failure, said Arne Glimcher, chairman of PaceWildenstein, the Manhattan gallery that represents Mr. Rauschenberg.

Mr. Rauschenberg's work gave new meaning to sculpture. "Canyon," for instance, consisted of a stuffed bald eagle attached to a canvas. "Monogram" was a stuffed goat girdled by a tire atop a painted panel. "Bed" entailed a quilt, sheet and pillow, slathered with paint, as if soaked in blood, framed on the wall. All became icons of postwar modernism.

A painter, photographer, printmaker, choreographer, onstage performer, set designer and, in later years, even a composer, Mr. Rauschenberg defied the traditional idea that an artist stick to one medium or style. He pushed, prodded and sometimes reconceived all the mediums in which he worked.

Building on the legacies of Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell and others, he helped obscure the lines between painting and sculpture, painting and photography, photography and printmaking, sculpture and photography, sculpture and dance, sculpture and technology, technology and performance art -- not to mention between art and life.

Mr. Rauschenberg was also instrumental in pushing American art onward from Abstract Expressionism, the dominant movement when he emerged, during the early 1950s. He became a transformative link between artists like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning and those who came next, artists identified with Pop, Conceptualism, Happenings, Process Art and other new kinds of art in which he played a signal role.

No American artist, Jasper Johns once said, invented more than Mr. Rauschenberg. Mr. Johns, John Cage, Merce Cunningham and Mr. Rauschenberg, without sharing exactly the same point of view, collectively defined this new era of experimentation in American culture."

Continue reading the article here.

02 May 2008

Brandl: Meeting Joe Fyfe at Felix Lehner’s Casting Foundary

Joe Fyfe painting

Felix Lehner and Hans Josephsohn

I've been meaning to write about this for some time, but kept getting sidetracked by other events. Last summer, I met the very interesting painter and "writer on art" Joe Fyfe.

Unfortunately I was in the throes of completing my three years of learning Latin and preparing for and taking the day-long final examinations, as well as painting for a couple of shows and teaching. Thus, I didn't get more than one real meeting with him, visiting him at the studio where he was staying and having lunch in the restaurant surrounded by the Pipilotti Rist's "Kunst am Bau," a giant red outdoor lounge. I agree with what Joe said, that it is not a metaphor that really attracts me. It was gutsy of the city to pay for and install it (most Kunst am Bau is rather flaccid, decorative geometric nonsense or quasi-event neo-conceptual entertainment novelties). Nevertheless, it doesn't hold together well and is ageing quickly and poorly.

Fyfe was doing a visiting artist/scholar residency at Felix Lehner's wonderful fine art casting foundry, a place I should hype more. St. Gallen, Switzerland is fortunate to have two of the world's best artisans-serving-fine art: Urban Stoob, a famous and remarkable stone lithographer about whom I'll write another time, and Felix Lehner.

In the Sitter river valley, a small yet dramatic drop from the surrounding area, west of the city, an industrial (more formerly than now) area is located. Here, a former textile dyeing factory was converted by Lehner into a foundry. Within 10 years it had international renown. Over a dozen expert artisans assist artists in the production of sculptural works as well as occasionally restoring important historical bronzes. And generally of very large proportions.

Felix Lehner, the founder and boss of the foundry is highly knowledgeable of contemporary art. Furthermore, he is the initiator of the "Sitterwerk" a permanent conglomeration of a handful of buildings forming a private art center (link), including a monographic museum, Schaulager and library. One area is dedicated primarily to Hans Josephsohn, a unique sculptor who you should google. The Sitterwerk and Foundary's website in English is here. The site for the Josephsohn museum, situated in the former boilerhouse, hence called the Kesselhaus, is here.

Fyfe, besides painting his own works, was there to research and rewrite an essay for Art in America on Hans Josephsohn. Fyfe had just returned from an extended stay in Southeast Asia, which he blogged about here.

Joe is, in fact, a fine and inveterate blogger. You can check in on him here, where, under July 18th, he wrote about our meeting.

Fyfe does some highly unique artworks wherein I see shades of Blinky Palermo cavorting with the soul of Matisse. Generally described, he stitches and glues found fabric together, abutting the elements rather than collaging them, and then applies very sparse strokes of paint. Very atmospheric, clear-sighted, elegant and historically aware. His writing is similar. Some bio minutiae: Fyfe was born in NYC in 1952, received his BFA from the University of the Arts in 1976. He has had recent solo shows of his paintings at JG Contemporary in New York City, and at Mai's Gallery in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He has been in recent shows at Tracy Williams Ltd. and Cheim and Read in NYC, Galerie Pitch in Paris and The Myers School of Art in Akron, Ohio. He has taught at Parsons, VCU, Temple and UT, Knoxville. He has received grants from The Pollock-Krasner and Gottlieb Foundations and he writes for Gay City News, Art in America, Arts AsiaPacific, Art on Paper and

You can read articles by Fyfe at artcritical here.

A fine interview with Joe and Merlin James titled "This Wonderful Exile of the Artist" was in Modern Painters (no kidding! A painter interviewed in Modern Painters!). It is available on the web here.

A review of Fyfe's paintings by Stephen Maine, originally in Art in America, is available here.

And while we are listing links, Fyfe is represented primarily by JG Contemporary, website here.

I felt an immediate affinity with Joe, and a similarity of perception, strangely enough, as our individual aesthetics are superficially so different. I would have liked to talk longer and repeatedly with him. Well, another time!