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Martin Herbert

Writing about contemporary art
30 July–8 August 2018

Wirtin about contemporary art, class room, Martin Herbert
photo: Mira Turba


Hohensalzburg Fortress

English (primarily), German

What to bring
Laptop, notebook, curiosity, works in progress

None, beyond an interest in contemporary art and writing about it

Maximum number of participants

Andrea Kopranovic

Participation fee
€ 600,– (€ 470,–)

There are many reasons to write about contemporary art, whether you’re writing criticism in its various forms, producing an explanatory text for a museum, or simply want to put the personal experience of visiting a gallery into language that lives up to it. In this course, designed to be useful to anyone who seeks to develop or improve their writing in this field, we will consider how to respond with creativity and clarity to the subjective process of looking at contemporary art.

A number of formats will be explored, including the exhibition review, the longer essay and the institutional text, on the understanding that there are things to be learned from all of them. We’ll practise responding to artworks, and also consider professional skills such as pitching articles and reviews, researching, interviewing, dealing with editing, and what – and how – to read in order to improve one’s craft. Most of all, we’ll examine how to convey the effects of richly complex images and objects without simplifying them, and how writing about art can be a way of discovering what we really think.

There was a magazine produced in this course, you can find it here!
Martin Herbert is a British writer and critic based in Berlin. His writing about contemporary art has been published for over 20 years in magazines including Artforum, Frieze, Parkett and many others, as well as in newspapers such as the UK’s Daily Telegraph. He has also written several books (see below) and a forthcoming book on the American artist Carol Bove, Unfold This Moment. In addition to this, for the past decade he has worked as an editor, primarily as associate editor for
the London-based ArtReview.

Herbert also regularly writes catalogue essays, which have been published by institutions including the Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY (US)), the Serpentine Gallery (London), Tate Britain, the Hayward Gallery (London) and the Biennale di Venezia . He lectures regularly in international art schools, and was a juror for the 2017 Turner Prize.

Martin Herbert: Tell Them I Said No, Sternberg Press, New York 2016.
Martin Herbert: The Uncertainty Principle, Sternberg Press, New York 2014.
Martin Herbert: Mark Wallinger, Thames & Hudson, United Kingdom 2011.

Portrait photo Martin Herbert