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«Thesis presented to the Faculty of Arts of the University of Zurich for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by Mark Staff Brandl of USA and ...»

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The conceit or extended metaphor shaping this chapter is a type of internal debate. This chapter is a model of thinking through and arriving at a new thought model by agonistically arguing with existing ones under the light of cognitive metaphor theory. I tested the waters of this debate in two seas while writing the chapter. First, in a preliminary presentation of the idea at the annual conference of the CAA (the College Art Association, the US national art historians organization) in Chicago in a session titled "Comics in Art History" organized by art historian, professor of 18th and 19th century European art, Patricia Mainardi and art historian, professor of Rococo and comics art, and artist Andrei Molotiu. Their input as well as that of the audience was extensive and informative. Then I discussed the idea while writing the final draft with my fellow guests at the Casa Zia Lina foundation on Elba, a New York playwright, Viennese Jazz pianist, and two German visual artists, who I introduced in Chapter Five. They were helpful, especially Martina AltSchäfer, a Rüsselsheim artist who deals with metaphoric compositional structure in her large-scale figurative drawings. Thus, this chapter is metaphorically an intertwining of presentation and dialogue which is a record of how it actually came into being. This in many ways also resembles an expansion of the form of a diagram with explanation.

Art history, like anything else, has its own history, as well as the history of teaching it.

Art history has most productively been practiced and taught as the scholarly study of works of art through their historical development and in their stylistic and geographic contexts. This was accomplished primarily in three sub-disciplines until recently. As the famed art historian Ernst Gombrich declared, "the field of art history [is] much like Caesar's Gaul, divided in three parts inhabited by three different, though not necessarily hostile tribes: (i) the connoisseurs, (ii) the critics, and (iii) the academic art historians."3 This has dramatically changed: connoisseurs are regrettably long gone; critics are sliding steadily farther and farther down the slope into insignificance. Historians remain, yet are under the pressure of several new cohorts or competitors: art theorists, curators, and increasingly creative philosophers of art. (It is notable that no one seems to mention collectors or artists in discussions of artworld power, two glaring omissions, but that is another story.) The relationships among this crew can be strained and have affected the conceptions and thus the teaching of art history. Instructors of art history have increasingly found arguments for why the presentation of the small standard canon is inadequate — quite rightly, when one contemplates the sexism, classism, geographical chauvinism, even ageism in it. Much of art history has unfortunately become limited to discussion of the traditional narrow canon, or, worse, abstract and feckless conceptualizing about so-called conditions for judgment, timorous avoidance of any timeline due to postmodern guilt, treating artworks as mere standins for particular ideologies. The problems with the first option are obvious and have been widely criticized; I described them above: it is constricted, nationalistic, continentally chauvinistic (favoring Europe and North America), racist, and so on. The second, however, is no better; it is a pathographic, symptomatic vision of art. The avoidance of any model is pernicious; it is fearful and an active impediment for beginning students to learning about and appreciate art.

But how are we to teach art history, avoiding both the Scylla and Charybdis I have mentioned? As both a docent of art history and a practicing artist, I began struggling with this, while simultaneously contemplating the additional opportunity I was offered to teach the

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history of comics, all while writing my dissertation on metaphor(m). Comics, with their creatively "impurist" blending of diverse traits and very short yet multifarious history, lead me to a new visualization of art history: one with convolution, expansiveness and development.

On the following three pages are the handouts I use when teaching the Introduction to Art History survey class.

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ART HISTORY TIMELINE,

QUICKY CRASH COURSE (SHORT FORM)

Prehistoric 30-20000 BCE----------------------------------------------------------------Egypt (Ancient) c.2500 BCE------------------------------------------ --Other Early Civilizations Mesopotamia c.2000 BCE ----------------------------------------- -----------------------Babylon/Sumeria Africa c.1000 BCE ---------------------------------------------------- --Benin, Zimbabwe, Mali, Ife) China c.1000 BCE------------------------------------------------------------------------Pre-Columbian South America c.500 BCE ---------------------------------------------------Toltec, Olmec, Aztec, Mayan, Navaho) India c.1500 BCE ----------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------Greece (Ancient) c.400 BCE----------------------------------------------Rome (Ancient)-----------------------------------0 (1-----------------------------------Byzantine c.500 CE----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Middle Ages/Medieval c.1000 CE ---------------------------------- --incl. Romanesque, Gothic, Islamic) Japan c.1100 CE --------------------------------------------------------- -------------------Renaissance 1400s CE ------------------------------------------------ ----Mannerism late 1500s CE----------------------------------------- --------------------------------Baroque 1650 CE----------------------------------------------------------Rococo 1750 CE -------------------------------------------------------- -----------------------------Classicism/ 1800 CE --------------------------------------------------- -Romanticism/-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Historicism - both) Academicists late 1800s CE ------------------------------------------ -----------------------------Modernism 1850 CE --------------------------------------------------- -----------

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MODERNISM (Close-Up) (all dates rough approx. for comparison) Realism 1850---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Impressionism 1860----------------------------------------------------------------Post-Impressionism 1880 -------------------------------------------------- ----------------Fauvism 1900 ------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------Cubism / Picasso 1910-------------------------------------------------------------------Analytic 1910 ---------------------------------------------------------------Synthetic 1915 -------------------------------------------------------------- ------------Futurism 1915 ------------------------------------------------------------------ -------------------------------Expressionism 1915 ---------------------------------------------------------- --Dada 1916---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Surrealism 1920 ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------Constructivism 1925 --------------------------------------------------------- -------------Abstraction (De Styl, usw.) 1930 ----------------------------------------- -Social Protest Art / Murals 1940 ----------------------------------------- --------------------------Abstract-Expressionism 1950 -------------------------------------------- ---Action Painting) Color Field / Post-Painterly late 1950s ---------------------------------- ------------------------Pop Art 1960 -------------------------------------------------------------------- Op Art 1965 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------- Hard Edge /Formalism 1965-----------------------------------------------Kinetic 1965 --------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------Minimalism 1965 --------------------------------------------------------------- -Fluxus / Neo-Dada 1965 ----------------------------------------------------- -----------------Conceptual Art 1970---------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------Performance / Body Art 1975--------------------------------------------------------Photo-Realism 1975 ---------------------------------------------------------- -Installation 1975 --------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------Earth Art / arte povera 1975 ----------------------------------------------- -

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Postmodernism (Close Up) (all dates rough approx. for comparison) Feminism 1975 ---------------------------------------------------------------- -----New Image 1978 -------------------------------------------------------------- --Pattern 1979 -------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------Neo-Expressionism 1980 -------------------------------------------------- ------many Neos, Graffitti, usw) Neo-Geo / Appropriation 1985 ------------------------------------------- -----------------------Neo-Conceptual / Video Installation 1990 --------------------------- ------Neo-Conceptual Academy) Conceptual Abstract Painting 2000 ----------------------------------- --Feeble Painting 2004--------------------------------------------Neo-Conceptual "Activities" 2004-----------------------------------------------------------------------Social Practice Art 2008-------------------------------------------------------Extended Painting 2010---------------------------------------------------------------------------

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While I still find these "crash course" timelines useful and students enjoy having them, I wanted an over-all timeline image. I drew a large one about 3.5 meters or 12 feet long and hung it permanently on the wall behind where the images are projected during class, for casual reference whenever anyone desired. A rather standard one, it ran left to right, along a straight line, travelling through all the major epochs, periods and movements. It was much like those seen in well-known art history textbooks. I added political and other cultural events above the time line to give a certain amount of context. However, whenever I looked at it, the basic image of a straight line disturbed me. It was not tropaically evocative in any way of how I saw history. It did not display a creative metaphor(m).

I began sketching various images as potential timeline substitutes, including doing so with students, inspired by James Elkins's first chapter in his book Stories of Art.4

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Concocting our own similar page-filling images was an enlightening experience and I can recommend it. Nonetheless, it offered no new form useful for general instruction. In particular, I wanted to address an existing instructional condition which I find notably harmful. In various schools of which I am aware, there is an increasing tendency to teach no timeline whatsoever due to the postmodern fear of the limitations of the canon. There are instructors who follow the Octoberists and perform only meta-history, discussing the inadequacies of the standard timeline, but not in fact teaching that standard aforehand, nor offering any replacement for it. One art historian I know teaches only two artists in a yearlong Introduction to Art History class; she delves into them in depth, which purportedly gives students tools for dealing with all of art history. I find that preposterous. Others teach thematically — e.g. a survey of how differing artists dealt with fire over the run of history.

This is too much like superficial art appreciation classes and far too restricted; it verges on vapid.

Weighing heavily on my mind was the fact that practicing artists with completed degrees, in addition to beginning students, had been repeatedly approaching me requesting that I conduct some sort of remedial continuing education class in general art history. The

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word had spread after I had jokingly summarized the survey in several panel discussions.

They were hungry for some sort of skeleton on which to base their own personal study of art history, a traditional desire perhaps, yet also paedagogically a proven one. Most importantly, the artists and students with whom I spoke were also open to critical questioning of the timeline. The two desires are not mutually exclusive; in fact, I would assert that one requires the former to conduct the latter. I created a purposefully entertaining, yet completely straightforward, hour-and-a-half-long lecture wherein I explain the entire history of art from Prehistoric through Postmodern.7 By its mere speed alone, it becomes amusing, yet viewers have told me that it is also edifying. Titled "A Quicky Crash Course in Art History," it is somewhere between lecture and performance art. I have done it in both English and German. I have further developed it as well into the year-long course I teach at the Art Academy (Kunstschule) in Liechtenstein.

Yet, I had still not solved my self-posed problem of how to present a concise, understandable image of the entire history of art which also clearly exhibited the accurate, to my mind, criticisms of the standard timeline introduced by feminists and then expanded by other socially progressive thinkers. At the same time as I was struggling with this problem, I was offered the opportunity to teach a class in comics and sequential art. I wished to begin the week-long module with a short overview of the history of that artistic form. My musings on how to present the history of comics finally showed me the way to a new image of the entire art history timeline.



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