Martin Herbert

Martin Herbert is a writer and critic based in Berlin. He is associate editor of ArtReview and contributes regularly to international art journals. He is the author of Mark Wallinger, The Uncertainty Principle (Sternberg Press), and Tell Them I Said No (Sternberg Press).

  • Unfold This Moment

    Unfold This Moment

    Martin Herbert

    An examination of the work of the artist Carol Bove that opens into wider questions of artistic conduct and inspiration.

    Unfold This Moment explores the work of Carol Bove, one of the most inventive and protean artists of her generation, whose practice has expanded—via numerous stylistic evolutions over two decades—from ethereal drawings of Playboy models to towering crushed-metal sculptures. Considering both her art and her life, this book offers a linear history of a figure who doesn't believe in linear time—her work evokes multiple temporalities simultaneously—and who harbors covertly radical ambitions for what art might do to the viewer's mind and body—not least how, without slipping into esotericism, it might serve as a gateway to meditative states. The text refocuses Bove's artistic output into a prism for wider questions of artistic conduct and inspiration: reacting resourcefully to unhelpful frameworks of reception; maintaining curiosity while performing the increasingly professionalized role of being a successful artist; realizing the value of instinct and the unconscious in creativity; being open to magical coincidences; and acknowledging the overlap between the intellectual territory of contemporary art and some of the oldest spiritual philosophies.

    • Paperback $26.00
  • Tell Them I Said No

    Tell Them I Said No

    Martin Herbert

    Essays on artists who have withdrawn from the art world or have adopted an openly antagonistic position against it.

    This collection of essays by Martin Herbert considers various artists who have withdrawn from the art world or adopted an antagonistic position toward its mechanisms. A large part of the artist's role in today's professionalized art system is being present. Providing a counterargument to this concept of self-marketing, Herbert examines the nature of retreat, whether in protest, as a deliberate conceptual act, or out of necessity. By illuminating these motives, Tell Them I Said No offers a unique perspective on where and how the needs of the artist and the needs of the art world diverge. Essays on Lutz Bacher, Stanley Brouwn, Christopher D'Arcangelo, Trisha Donnelly, David Hammons, Agnes Martin, Cady Noland, Laurie Parsons, Charlotte Posenenske, and Albert York.

    • Paperback $24.00
  • Eva Grubinger

    Eva Grubinger

    Café Nihilismus

    Martin Herbert

    A rapid development of technology and science, a resultant feeling that reality is speeding up and even out of control: the mood and texture of our current moment strongly resemble those of a century ago. In Eva Grubinger's exhibition “Café Nihilismus,” the two eras interweave. Framed by yellow neon writing, the sequence of sculptures and 2-D works suggests a phantasmal bar: coffee culture and the discursive space around it being central, not least to Vienna, in the early twentieth century and now a staple of twenty-first-century life.

    As culture looks back a hundred years to the outset of the First World War, “Café Nihilismus”—its very title pointing to a doubting of established cultural values—suggests a larger, questioning relationship between then and now, evoking such figures as Egon Friedell, Sigmund Freud, Karl Kraus, and Adolf Loos. This slender catalogue simply and beautifully documents Grubinger's exhibition at Kerstin Engholm Gallery in Vienna (May 16–June 21, 2014), and includes a text contribution by Martin Herbert.

    • Paperback $10.00
  • The Uncertainty Principle

    The Uncertainty Principle

    Martin Herbert

    Within the realm of science, the uncertainty principle speaks of the fundamental limits of knowledge and measurement vis-à-vis the external world, and how the very act of seeing alters what is seen. Martin Herbert's The Uncertainty Principle is a collection of essays that reveals layers of unknowing and open-endedness within a diversity of contemporary art practices since the 1970s. If a work of art is always completed by the viewer, as Marcel Duchamp put it, then the works considered here equate completion with construction. In navigating us through a succession of artists' approaches, Herbert also discloses how constructed experiences of “not knowing” can lead to deep engagements with a range of specific issues and themes: from history to politics, from epistemology to mortality.

    Martin Herbert is a writer and critic living in Tunbridge Wells, UK, and Berlin. He is associate editor of ArtReview and a regular contributor to Artforum, frieze, and Art Monthly, and has lectured in art schools internationally. His monograph Mark Wallinger, a comprehensive study of the British artist's career, was published in 2011.

    • Paperback $25.00


  • Reflexologies


    Nina Canell

    Five years of Nina Canell's sculptural work, documented and generously illustrated in color.

    Cable cuts, energetics, and gunk: moving back and forth between a group of core subjects, Reflexologies converts the past five years of Nina Canell's sculptural work into a 384-page book. It is interrupted throughout by a lagged conversation and three new texts: Martin Herbert reflects on subsea cable stumps and the generative potential of gaps; Jennifer Teets considers flexible pneus and viscous processes; and Robin Watkins tackles a slow real-time collaboration. Images have been grouped in a loosely chronological sequence, allowing exhibition views to fold out into parallel trajectories that emphasize Canell's ongoing preoccupation with the configuration and breakdown of material relations.


    Martin Herbert, Jennifer Teets, Robin Watkins (+ a transcribed conversation between Alexander R. Galloway and Nicole Starosielski)

    • Hardcover $50.00