Panorama view of exhibition in Jedlitschka Gallery, Zurich.

Panorama view of exhibition in Jedlitschka Gallery, Zurich.

15 November 2016

Dr Great Art Podcast Episode 3: "Pluralism, PluralismS, Schmuralism"

Re-historicizing Pluralism in art. It is claimed to be a unique change and to reign right now, yet it is not so new and has a past. Pluralisms have occurred at least 7 times before. 
http://drgreatart.libsyn.com/

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Here is the script (NOT a transcript, as I change lements while recording).

Dr Great Art Podcast Three
"Pluralism, PluralismS, Schmuralism"

Hi this is Mark Staff Brandl, with the third "Dr (Great) Art" brief podcast. I hope you enjoy it and come back for each and every one.
Today we have a short historical overlook of Pluralism. Or rather 'PluralismS.' titled: "Pluralism, Pluralisms, Schmuralism"
(For those who do not recognize it, in the title I am using "Shm-reduplication" --- in this linguistic play the original word is repeated with the beginning 'shm.' The construction is generally used to indicate irony, derision, skepticism, or disinterest with respect to comments about the discussed object and comes from Yiddish and was subsequently transferred to urban American English.)
Pluralism? Schmuralism!

Thanks to poststructuralist theory (largely I would assert misunderstood by the artworld), some artworld aficionados assert that there WAS a linear progression in art history that has ended. After the end of this linear progress, anything goes. (I would argue against both premises that there WAS such a teleological line and that it ended, but I will do that another time.)

Pluralism reigns. There is much to discuss here, but I will limit myself to my own re-historization of pluralism and indeed progress itself as concepts in art.
There could potentially be a dynamic version of pluralism, were we to follow Diana L. Eck of The Pluralism Project at Harvard University, who suggests that pluralism is or could be "not diversity alone, but the energetic engagement with diversity." Unfortunately, I do not find this to be true of the current use of the idea in the artworld.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, though, pluralism is not unique. It has been used to describe many art periods in the past. Let me quickly historicize it. I have found at least 8 clear examples of pluralism, both as the animal and named as such, throughout art history from the ancient past till now. I discussed these extensively in my PhD dissertation, but now I present some sort elucidations.
Here are a few citations of scholars who have described the pluralism of these various periods of pluralism in art history.
1. Franklin Einspruch explained late Antique Greek art, Hellenism, in terms of pluralism: "The artistic achievements of Greece simultaneously peak and founder in Hellenism." This is so pervasive a description of this period that it has been used the other way round. Tim Muldoon claims that "we are living amidst a kind of postmodern Hellenism" now. Pluralism in Ancient Greece.
2. Francesca Tronchin, discussing Late Roman culture writes: "As the pluralism of Roman art itself rises in stock among scholars, however, such additive or syncretistic systems are now being paid fresh attention." Pluralism in Ancient Rome.
3. Susan von Daum Tholl in her entry on Carolingian Art in the Encyclopedia of Medieval Germany states, "Historians of the period have repeatedly uncovered a pluralism." Pluralism in Medieval times.
4. Judith Steinhoff demonstrates that Siena's Trecento, Mannerist, artistic culture of the mid- and late fourteenth century was intentionally pluralistic in her book Sienese Painting After the Black Death: Artistic Pluralism, Politics, and the New Art Market. Pluralism in Mannerism.
5. Franklin Toker claims that the period to most strongly evidence "different and even opposing art movements was the eighteenth century… in France and Germany with the Rococo movement." Pluralism in the Rococo.
6. Austrian art historian Hans Sedlmayr, in his book Art in Crisis: The Lost Center, claims pluralism for all the architecture of Historicism, the period(s) which painters know better as Romanticism and Neo-Classicism. Pluralism in Historicism.
7. Corinne Robins's book The Pluralist Era; American Art, 1968-1981 claimed the exclusive application of the term 'Pluralist' to the art of the 1970s and early 1980s, before the explosions of Neo-Expressionism and Neo-Conceptualism occurred. This was a common claim at that time, I remember, though Pluralism was actually often denigrated in order to promote either of the two named Neos. This was true until very recently, when the term 'Pluralism' appears to be in the process of being co-opted by the Neo-Conceptualists themselves. I lived through all of that and experienced it well. Pluralism in early and mid Postmodern times.
8. And then there is now. One example is Jim Auer's 1995 review "Seductive and Sensational: Art Museum Exhibit Embraces Pluralism," in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Pluralism now.

Let me summarize, Pluralism is nothing new.
It has historically arisen within and/or been used to describe the cultural experimentation and fumbling about after any given "strong" period of art history and before the next one arose. At this art historical moment, the shadow of High Modernism hangs over us, much as that of the Renaissance did over the Mannerists. In place of Donatello, Leonardo, Raphael, etc., — and most of all Michelangelo, --- we have the School of Paris, the Action Painters, Pop, the Conceptualists, Minimalists, etc., — and most of all Duchamp; or, in comics, the shadow of Jack Kirby, Will Eisner, Harvey Kurzman,
Osamu Tezuka. Pluralism is a standard condition of transitional periods and is most often taken to be an end point, yet never was. As New York painter David Reed said to me, "We must get over trying to be the first or thinking we are the last. We are in the midst of a long line of artists. There are those before us and there will be many after us."

I have heard it contended that this time, there has been a "sea change," as the saying goes. This new period of Pluralism, or whatever else it may be, has changed everything. This is both true and false. Every change in art history has made this claim, and in fact has changed everything afterwards, that itself is, thus, not uniquely true. This claim of a "sea change" has been made, and I believe is indeed true, just not uniquely so, of the Renaissance, Modernism, Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop, Conceptualism, Neo-Expressionism, and others. Most importantly, there will be other such "sea changes" in the future.
My response, in short, is that I do not feel that we now have an end of either art or art history. It is the death of one western, reductivist master narrative: that single, simple march-of-history idea which was taken for granted until recently. This is also a history of art which has ignored vernacular art such as comics, the contributions of women, the entire world outside Europe and North America, and much more.

Philosopher David Carrier writes, "unlike Danto, I think that there is more than one way to tell the story of art’s history." While this would seemingly call for multiple histories, my friend Carrier terms such a position "posthistorical." Numerous and divers stories are not necessarily "post-story;" I assert, they simply embody the amendment of one dominant tale into many narratives.
Art history could have many narratives or even narrative climaxes other than ontology or formal reduction; and multiple ones at that. Or best, NO climax. The future of both fine and comic art might NOT be posthistorical, but rather polyhistorical. This also does NOT mean we should give up modeling art history, in some version of poststructuralist lazy nihilism.
I see a solution to the "timeline inadequacy problems" in a model of art history as a braid, a theory indeed called the "Brandl/Perreault Braid Model of Art History," as I and John Perreault came up with it together, but that will be the subject of another podcast. 

For now: Pluralism is nothing new.
It has historically arisen within and/or been used to describe the cultural experimentation and fumbling about after any given "strong" period of art history and before the next one arose. At this art historical moment, we are in one such weaker transitional period. But let us look at it as a potentially positive cultural brainstorming and stop the repetitive, naive statements that because things are not like earlier, like Europe in some specific time, or what-have-you, then everything is over. That is cloaked lazy thought, chauvinism, even racism.

Thanks for listening. That was "Dr (Great) Art" podcast number 3. If you wish to hear more cool, exciting and hopefully inspiring stuff about art history and art, come back for more. Also I, Dr Mark Staff Brandl, artist and art historian, am available for live custom Performance-Lectures. In English und auf Deutsch.
I take viewers inside visual art and art history. Entertainingly, yet educationally and aesthetically, I analyze, underline, and discuss the reasons why a work of art is remarkable, or I go through entire eras, or indeed through the entirety of art history. The lectures often take place with painted background screens and even in my painting-installations.
You can find or contact me at
www.drgreatart.com/ ("dr etc.")
book me at www.mirjamhadorn.com (spell etc.)
or Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

07 November 2016

Martina Morger Ausstellung Galerie Hollabolla Eschen, Liechtenstein, Vernissagerede Nov. 2016














Martina Morger
Vernissagerede 6. Nov. 2016
"Think of Yourself as a Machine"

Ich könnte lange über Martina Morger und ihre Kunst erzählen, denn sie ist schon eine sehr interessante und komplexe Künstlerin. Eine angehende Künstlerin, aber bereits mit einer unglaublichen Vielschichtigkeit. Es freut mich, dass sie hier schon ausgereifte Arbeiten zeigen kann.
Ich kenne Martina erst seit 3 Jahren. Sie war im Vorkurs der Kunstschule Liechtenstein, wo ich ihr Kunstgeschichte beigebracht habe. Wir haben uns sofort verbunden, "bonded" gefühlt. Wir haben sehr ähnliche Vorgehensweisen zu Leben und zu Lernen; wir sind sogenannte "shotgun intellectuals", "Schrottflinte Intellektuelle", geistig breite Interessen habende Mischlinge. Ich betrachte sie gern als geistige und ästhetische Tochter!
Martina sagte mir schon ein paar Mal, dass ich an ihrer Multimedialität mindesten teilweise "Schuld" habe. Das freut mich sehr! Als ich vor kurzem mit ihr über diese Ausstellung gesprochen habe, hat sie mir erzählt, dass sie gerne mehre Leben hätte, um auch Astrophysik zu studieren. Amüsanterweise, hatte ich kurz vorher zu meiner Frau bemerkt, dass ich wünschte genügend Zeit im Leben dafür zu haben, auch ein Archäologe und ein Physiker zu werden! Klein Martina wollte auch Archäologin werden. Moll moll, Künstlerin Morger und ich sind verwandt.
Martina hat schon ein ereignisreiches Leben, und ich bin sicher, sie wird so weitermachen und während ihres ganzen Lebens expandieren und wachsen.
Martina Morger bekam ihr erstes Diplom von der Universität Zürich in 2010 in Publizistik und Kommunikations-Wissenschaft (übrigens meine Doktor-Alma Mater Schule). Aber DANN geschah etwas Spannendes! Sie ist nach Kapstadt in Südafrika gereist, um in Publizistik zu arbeiten und neue Erlebnisse zu sammeln. Dort angekommen, engagiert sie sich in Fotografie und Tanz, insbesondere African Modern Dance, in Performance. Folglich, mit 22 Jahren, entschloss sie sich, Künstlerin zu werden! And she has succeeded!
Ihre erste Ausstellung war in 2012. Zurzeit setzt sie ihre Studien an der ZHdK in Mediale Künste fort. Martina konzentriert sich da an Inter- und Multimedialen-Arbeit: Performative Malerei und Sound-Installationen. Ziemlich aufregend!
Ihre Kombinationen liegen mir sehr am Herzen --- und am Herzen der Zeit. Ich und mehrere Kunstkollegin und -Kolleginnen machen Kunstwerke, die ich "Mongrel Art" nenne. Morger auch!
"Mongrel" ist ein Wortspiel; es ist Englisch für "Strassen-Mischlingshund" --- ein Bastard. Wir sind gegen Purismus, finden es moralisch und politisch fragwürdig --- zu viel Inzucht in der Kunst. Über Grenzen schreiten, Lücken schliessen, Kreuzen.
Ich bin vor allem für Kreuzungen zwischen Installation, sequenzieller Malerei, Schriftmalerei, bekannt --- die mitunter sogar Vorträge als Performances beinhalten, der "Dr. Great Art" Projekt.
In ähnlicher Weise, aber ganz selbstständig, macht Martina reizvolle Kreuzungen zwischen Malerei, Installation, Computer/Digitale Kunst, Tanz und Performance. Lassen Sie mich eine kurze, oberflächliche Erläuterung ihres Prozesses in diesen Werken jetzt präsentieren:
Morger hat etwas wie ein Rezept erfunden oder besser gesagt, eine neue Form des Notenblatts geschaffen. Ihr Vokabular besteht aus 100 verschiedenen Instruktionen. Sie nahm diese mit einem Tongerät auf, und gibt sie in ein Computerprogramm ein. Da gestaltete sie einen "Flow Chart", ein Ablaufdiagramm von möglichen Aktionen --- kurz einen Algorithmus.
Dieser Algorithmus randomisiert die Sound-Befehle und spielt diese in kleineren Sets von 20, 40 oder 60 Minuten ab. Martina folgte dann ihren eigenen Anweisungen. Sie malte in Schwarz, Weiss, Gelb, Grau, und Blau und wie befohlen. Auf Leinwänden, wie man hier sieht, aber auch auf sehr sehr grossen, ungespannten Leinwandstücken, welche sie später zuschnitt und aufspannte.
Typisch für diese Künstlerin, die Werke sind hoch-intellektuell, aber gleichzeitig auffallend körperbetont. In der Tat, Martina zeigt die potentielle Einheitlichkeit dieser zwei Aspekte in gut-gelebter Erfahrung auf. Eine gute und äusserst erfreuliche Metapher innerhalb ihres Prozesses selbst.
Die Ausstellung heisst "Think of Yourself as a Machine", ('Stelle dir dich als Maschine vor.')
Aber wie John Cage, der auch solche generative Verfahren brauchte, feststellte: Martina Morgers Technik ist in einer Dialektik drin und sucht kreative Kombinationen mit Humanismus und breiter sozio-politischer und mechanistischer Realität.
Darüber hinaus, Martinas Kunst suggeriert andere bedeutende Tropen: Grenzen zu missachten ist ein sehr bedeutungsschweres, politisches und soziales Simile --- über den formalen Gebrauch hinaus.
Aber nicht vergessen! Dies sind auch sehr visuelle, schöne Gemälde!
--- Dr Mark Staff Brandl

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



My second, newest, Dr Great Art podcast is now up and ready to be listened to! "Art Mottos, Modernism and PoMo" and PoPoMo. 6 minutes. Fun art history facts and commentary.
http://drgreatart.libsyn.com/episode-2-art-mottos-modernism-and-pomo
http://drgreatart.libsyn.com/
or on iTunes podcast app store,
https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/dr-great-art!-short-fun-art/id1167011656?l=en

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

Dr Great Art Podcast Two

"Art Mottos, Modernism and PoMo"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Make it yours, make it matter."

Thanks for listening. That was "Dr (Great) Art" podcast number 2. If you wish to hear more cool, exciting and hopefully inspiring stuff about art history and art, come back for more. Also I, Dr Mark Staff Brandl, artist and art historian, am available for live custom Performance-Lectures. In English und auf Deutsch.

I take viewers inside visual art and art history. Entertainingly, yet educationally and aesthetically, I analyze, underline, and discuss the reasons why a work of art is remarkable, or I go through entire eras, or indeed through the entirety of art history. The lectures often take place with painted background screens and even in my painting-installations.

You can find or contact me at
www.drgreatart.com/

book me at www.mirjamhadorn.com or
find me at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram



Dr Great Art Podcast Episode 1: "Illegal to Teach Women Art"


Dr Great Art, the Podcast is up and running! You can get it at http://drgreatart.libsyn.com/rss or http://drgreatart.libsyn.com/
or on iTunes podcast app store,

https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/dr-great-art!-short-fun-art/id1167011656?l=en
all for free!
The first episode is "Illegal to Teach Women Art." There were of course female artist at all times. Most simply have been ignored, or even later removed from mainstream art history. Worst of all, for most of history in the West and the East, it was illegal to instruct or train women to become professional artists at all! Come listen to short (5 min.) fun and educational art history artecdotes by Mark Staff Brandl.


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Her is the script (NOT a transcript, as I change elements when recording.)
Dr Great Art Podcast One
"Illegal to Teach Women Art"
Hi this is Mark Staff Brandl, with the first "Dr (Great) Art" brief podcast. I hope you enjoy it and come back for each and every one.
Today we have a short Artecdote. Titled "It was Illegal to Teach Women Art"
There were of course female artist at all times. Most simply have been ignored, or even later removed from mainstream art history. More and more of their stories are being unveiled and recounted.
It was, nevertheless immensely difficult for a female artist until, and I would suggest even including, contemporary times. (Look at the justified criticisms of the artworld from the Guerrilla Girls.) Worst of all, for most of history in the West and the East, it was illegal to instruct or train women to become professional artists. Most women got little schooling at all. Yes, daughters of rich or powerful people could be trained in a little gentile flower-painting or the like, but nothing serious --- nor especially professional --- was allowed.
And even IF women later than the Baroque were allowed to learn a wee bit about art, they were officially fenced-in as to WHAT they could learn --- it was not until the 19th century that female artists were permitted to study figure drawing from live subjects at all!
In short, it was ILLEGAL to teach women to become artists, from at least the Middle Ages through to the beginning of Modern times. It was a punishable offence!
In particular, in two of the greatest European art historical eras, the Renaissance and the Baroque, when Humanism and individualism were being born, it was largely not for women.
When, in 1550, Giorgio Vasari published the first edition of his Le vite de più eccellenti architetti, pittori, et scultori ... (Lives of the Most Excellent Architects, Painters, and Sculptors ... ), the first real art history text, he included only one woman. He later includes four, incl. sculptor Properzia de' Rossi. Perhaps most known at that time was Sofonisba Anguissola, who Michelangelo noted as being talented.
Women artists were still regarded then as "abnormal," even "monsters of nature." Second, most male artists came from the artisan, working class (as indeed in our time until about the mid 80s). Children of wealthy or aristocratic families did not learn to be artists, even the men,  because the manual aspects of art production were considered beneath their dignity. Classism and sexism make good partners it seems.
Sometimes it was possible to a small degree to learn art if a woman was in a convent, or some women learned how to paint from their rather "cool," law-defying fathers. Several notable female artists began their careers this way, including, Artemisia Gentileschi (about whom I will go into in a future podcast) and Marietta Robusti (called, La Tintoretta, Tintoretto’s daughter).

In recent years, under the influence of Feminism, art historians have been dedicated to finding the details of these talented women, finding their works and bringing them back into broad art historical knowledge. This is exciting and we must continue --- as well as continue fighting against sexism (and for that matter racism, classism and ageism) in the artworld today.

Thanks for listening. That was "Dr (Great) Art" podcast number 1. 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.
I take viewers inside visual art and art history. Entertainingly, yet educationally and aesthetically, I analyze, underline, and discuss the reasons why a work of art is remarkable, or I go through entire eras, or indeed through the entirety of art history. The lectures often take place with painted background screens and even in my painting-installations.
You can find or contact me at
www.drgreatart.com/
book me at www.mirjamhadorn.com
or Facebook, Twitter, Instagram