Mark Staff Brandl, "A Philosophy of Visual Metaphor in Contemporary Art" (Bloomsbury, 2023)


Today I talked to Mark Staff Brandl about his new book A Philosophy of Visual Metaphor in Contemporary Art (Bloomsbury, 2023).

Brandl is an artist and art historian with a PhD from the University of Zurich. He is an Associate Professor of Art History Emeritus at the Art Academy of Liechtenstein and Higher Professional College for Art in St. Gallen, Switzerland. His work has been shown in galleries and museums in America, Europe, Egypt and elsewhere.

Brandl is by his own admission an iconoclast, and somebody who mixes philosophical discourse with more polemical “rants” in advocating for creativity. For instance, as addressed in this episode Brandl does not hesitate to find fault with contemporary artists who take the “cheap out” of relying (too much) on irony, instead of sparking hope; and likewise with collectors of art who often function merely as speculators. Brandl’s approach honors Lakoff and Johnson’s seminar book, Metaphors We Live By, while applying their approach to the visual arts. A notable example is that for Brandl the artist Van Gogh can be thought of in terms of a passionate flame (the metaphor being, passion is hot), with cypress trees that can appear like candles in the way they’ve been painted. To understand how form and content intertwine in art, this episode offers a good jumping off point.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of ten books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. ( His latest two books are Blah Blah Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo and Emotionomics 2.0: The Emotional Dynamics Underlying Key Business Goals.

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Dan Hill

Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of ten books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. To check out his related “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight” blog, visit this site.

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