Martin Herbert

  • Pablo Bronstein, Plaza Minuet, 2006. Installation view, Tate Britain, London.


    PABLO BRONSTEIN KNOCKED DOWN London Bridge and commissioned two architects—ostentatious postmodernist Terry Farrell and eighteenth-century purveyor of Neoclassical elegance William Chambers—to collaborate on its replacement, a passé riot of disharmonious ornament crowned with a giant precariously balanced globe. He seated Filippo Juvarra, Baroque pioneer of illusionistic perspectives for theater sets and designer of basilicas, at a draftsman’s desk beside Michael Graves, architect of Disneyland’s resort hotels, and left them to foment an unholy mix of elegant piazzas and pyramid-topped

  • Gavin Turk, Gentleman Jim, 2005, mixed media, 84 7/16 x 39 3/8 x 39 3/8".

    Gavin Turk

    Gavin Turk notoriously concluded his MFA at the Royal College of Art in London with a cocksure forecast of future esteem, installing in an otherwise empty room an English Heritage plaque, BOROUGH OF KENSINGTON / GAVIN TURK / SCULPTOR / WORKED HERE / 1989–1991.

    Gavin Turk notoriously concluded his MFA at the Royal College of Art in London with a cocksure forecast of future esteem, installing in an otherwise empty room an English Heritage plaque, BOROUGH OF KENSINGTON / GAVIN TURK / SCULPTOR / WORKED HERE / 1989–1991. That Turk has since burned less brightly than many of his YBA contemporaries is possibly the price of being a gadfly: His investigations into how artistic value gets conferred—particularly through the cults of originality and personality, which he evinces through fusions of existing iconographies, from Warhol’s

  • Christopher Stewart

    It’s estimated that there are some twenty-five thousand private military personnel currently in Iraq, collectively comprising easily the second-largest fighting force in the country (the largest being of course the US Army). Employed by firms with names like Custer Battles, Global Risk Strategies, and Blackwater USA, they are mostly funded by US tax dollars and handle everything from training local forces to surveillance, weapons procurement, and on-the-ground fighting. But these mercenaries aren’t trained in US boot camps. They’re drilled in places like the one depicted in Christopher Stewart’s


    MARINE HUGONNIER spent September 12, 2001, contemplating the immediate future. As did we all, you might say—but the Paris-born, London-based artist projected forward in a uniquely literal fashion. When the towers fell, she’d been on her way from the UK to the Alaskan village of Cape Prince of Wales, a little settlement notable primarily for its utterly remote location. There, at the narrowest point of the Bering Strait, you can look across the waters—as Hugonnier did, often through the viewfinder of a camera—and see Cape Dezhnev, the easternmost point of Asia, some forty miles

  • Jens Hoffmann

    THREE’S A CROWD. That would appear to be the thinking, anyway, among adventurous international curators at London institutions. For no sooner than Hans-Ulrich Obrist arrived at the Serpentine Gallery and Ralph Rugoff settled into his seat at the Hayward Gallery (see Artforum, Summer 2006), Jens Hoffmann—whose audacious two and a half years as director of exhibitions at the city’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) arguably paved the way for them—announced his departure. In November the Costa Rica–born curator will become director of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco.

  • John Latham

    With more than thirty works (including all eleven of his hanging sculptural “clusters” of books, plaster, and wire), this show should illuminate the fiercely individual thinking of one of the key British artists of the past century.

    A decade before John Latham’s death last January at age eighty-five, I worked in his neighborhood bookshop in London, ordering the abstruse tomes on time and quantum mechanics that fed what this show calls his “unified theory of existence.” By then, he had gone from creating largely Conceptual work—like his 1966–67 action in which he literally chewed up Clement Greenberg’s Art and Culture—to making paintings, sculptures, performances, installations, and films, and his openness and iconoclasm had already influenced four decades of British artists. Touring from the UK’s John

  • Jake and Dinos Chapman, Disasters of War IV, 2001, one of 83 hand-colored etchings with watercolor, each 9 5/8 x 13 9/16.

    Jake and Dinos Chapman

    The conspicuous void in this midcareer survey falls where the British brothers’ concentration camp–themed masterpiece, Hell, 1999–2000, should be (it was destroyed in the 2004 Momart fire). But the seventeen sculptures, two installations, and some three hundred paintings and prints made since 1992 will no doubt still offer a brilliantly assaulting display and a measure of our societal hang-ups.

    One putatively verboten move after another, executed with fastidiousness and glee—that’s Jake and Dinos Chapman’s modus operandi. Retrofitting reverenced subjects with insolent supplements—such as giving child mannequins sexual organs for facial features, defacing original Goya prints in comically juvenile fashion, and creating faux-ethnographic displays with hand-carved McDonald’s logos—underscores the artists’ superiority to the scopophiliac hordes via fanatical attention to detail. The conspicuous void in this midcareer survey falls where the

  • Cumulus, 2006, production photograph.
    picks May 24, 2006

    Tomas Saraceno

    The first in a series of artworks commissioned for the Barbican’s tricky Curve gallery—a 260-foot-long bowed corridor, basically—Tomas Saraceno’s panoramic, thirty-two-screen video installation turns spatial limitation to spectacular advantage. To make the work (part of his ongoing “Air-Port-City” project), the Argentine artist went to the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia—a three-acre salt lake in a desert positioned more than two miles above sea level. There he set up a ring of thirty-two cameras to shoot the sped-up footage of cloud movements, sunrises, and sunsets we see here. After

  • Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Ralph Rugoff

    IT IS MARCH 2006, AND WE’RE IN London—“the beating heart of Europe’s contemporary art scene,” as the New York Times puts it—and we’re touring the commercial galleries. Plush international dealerships hum to the north and west, increasingly slick indigenous operations cluster in the east, and myriad penurious venues percolate determinedly at various distances from the art scene’s main drags. The dynamism—whatever one might think of the art on display—is tangible.

    In order to determine how all this effervescence is aerating the city’s institutional echelons, let’s say we go to the Hayward Gallery

  • Nathaniel Mellors

    The ambiguous finale of the ’60s cult British TV series The Prisoner finds leading man Patrick McGoohan’s character, Number Six, apparently freed from the mysterious allegorical village he’s been trapped in and returning to his former metropolitan life. In Nathaniel Mellors’s 16-mm film (transferred to DVD) MACGOOHANSOC, 2005, a steely young Englishwoman claims to be “the body of Patrick McGoohan”: Not his spirit, not the fictional spirit of Number Six, but the physical form of the actor (who is still alive). Such compound perplexity is typical of Mellors’s gravitation toward points at which

  • Marc Quinn

    What form should portraiture take in the twenty-first century? As this show of thirty recent works by Marc Quinn ought to demonstrate, the human form is multifariously definable: Bronzes cast from chunks of animal meat have us as raw corporeality waiting for the slab; in his “DNA Portraits,” the artist schematizes identity into bacterial colonies in agar jelly using samples of human genomes; white marble representations of the physically handicapped challenge traditional conceptions of heroism and beauty. The last’s ironic interplay with damaged classical sculptures


    FROM THE POINTEDLY economical gestures with which she began her career—amps dimming or brightening in the viewer’s presence (Before and After Follow Each Other, 1990); recordings of applause or jeers triggered by visitors’ movements (as in Laughing Crowd Sound Piece, 1990)—to the polyphonic, multihued blend of geometric structures and son et lumière in which she specializes today, Angela Bulloch has progressively deepened a practice fascinated with ordering systems and the subjective processing of information. Inflecting the stringent aesthetics of Conceptualism and Minimalism with destabilizing