Georg Herold

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Georg Herold
Born 1947 (age 70–71)
Jena, Germany
Nationality German
Education Woodbury University, Art Center College of Design
Known for sculpture, painting, installation, photography and video art[1]
Notable work Untitled, (1991)
Künstlerische Medizin, Patho-Ontologie (Cabinet patho-psychologique) (1995)
There is nothing left—There is no right, (1992)
Delivering the WOW, (2005)
Figur I-V (2007)[2]
Movement Contemporary art
Awards Günter Fruhtrunk Prize of the Academy of Fine Arts

Georg Herold (born 1947) is a German artist. He works in sculpture, installation, painting, photography, and video art. He lives and works in Cologne, Germany.[1][3]

Early life and education

Herold finalized a traineeship as an artist blacksmith and attended the University of Art and Design Halle (Halle, Germany) from 1969 to 1973. In 1974, Herold left the German Democratic Republic, went to Munich and attended the Academy of Fine Arts (1974-76). Harold left Munich and went to Hamburg where, under the mentoring of Sigmar Polke, he has graduated the University of Fine Arts.[3][4]

While studying under the guidance of Sigmar Polke (1977-1981)[5] and Franz Erhard Walther[6] at the University of Fine Arts of Hamburg, Herold met Günther Förg, Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen and Werner Büttner.[1] They formed a tight knit group of "provocateurs", the "bad boy group" (enfants terribles), known for embracing the punk attitude and rebelling in the anarchic spirit of the late 1970s.[7]


Aktivistin (2013) by Georg Herold

Between the 80s and 90s, Herold's work was influenced by Albrecht Dürer's, whose Hare (1502) was created using roofing slats.[6][8] Herold was also influenced by the Dada movement, whose specifics are found in his bizarre and subversive[4] works that refer to the consumerist society.[9] Some of Herold's works are often "allusional"[10] and "quirky and provocative as "Dada"". An example is Herold's Herrenperspektive (Men's Perspective), (2002).[11] The ironic tendency of Herold's works which leave room for interpretation,[4][12] juxtaposed to the fact that he uses commonly found objects to create his artwork, influenced his style towards Marcel Duchamp's approach.[1][13][4] Since 1980, DOCUMENTA IX has been hosting Herold's artworks,[4][14] including There is nothing left—There is no right (1992)[2][15]

Herold uses non-traditional mediums, lower grade everyday materials that are not commonly used in art.[9][13] These include construction materials like bricks, matresses,[16] nails, socks, buttons, paper scraps and copper[4] making Herold's work to be associated sometimes with Arte Povera.[5][6] He also uses eclectic household and food items, like tights, aged cheese, tea strainers, photos, and various plants,[1][9] thus, transforming the role of canvas by changing it into a support that outspreads "from the frame into the picture".[17]

One of the examples of the nontraditional art materials that Herold uses may be his caviar paintings.[18] As Herold smears caviar across the surface of the canvas, he transmutes the value and connotation into something invested rather than wasted.[2][9][19] Herold, through his frequently ironic critical works, makes an allusion to figures of authority, the art market, their artistic predecessors, and the prevailing culture questioning the whole purpose of art and even its context in the world at large.[1][9][20]

A sculpture composed of metal wire and wood, Genetischer Eingriff in die Erbmasse bei Frau Herold (n.n. tr. The Genetic Alteration of Mrs. Herolds DNA) (1985) depicts a DNA double-helix constructed from wire that descends from thin air to a wooden base. As it approaches the base, chunks of board wood of various lengths seem to interact with, interrupt, and distort the DNA strand at random.[21]

Herold's large canvas Untitled (1991) displays four dark, spiraling patterns made of Beluga caviar. The spirals resemble DNA molecules, and each caviar egg is painstakingly numbered.[22]

In Knstlerische Medizin, Patho-Ontologie (Cabinet patho-psychologique) (1995), Herold presents a collection of glass bottles and jars, each one labeled in a way that at a glance seems scientific and legitimate. Closer inspection reveals the label texts to be pseudoscientific and satirical.[22]

Punning on the political left and right wings, There is Nothing Left, There is No Right (1992) consists of two doors, each painted a neutral gray. One of them is marked "There is nothing left," the other emblazoned "There is no right." Viewers are invited to choose.[23][22]

Delivering the WOW (2005) is a plain linen canvas, from which protrude several unremarkable stacks of bricks, joined from end to end with white cement to create tall, narrow towers three bricks high.[24][22]

With his sculpture series, Figur I-V (2007), Herold presents five larger-than-life surrealistic human figures composed of canvas stretched over lengths of timber, vibrantly tinted in solid primary colors with glossy auto-body paint. Slender and angular, long-limbed and lacking in facial features, these figures writhe and contort into arresting body positions, as if in extreme pain or ecstasy.[24][22]

For Members Only depicts a big cardboard box, with the words of the title scrawled on its side, evoking a child's imaginary fort. This plain setpiece is raised high above the viewer on a splendid pedestal, solid and transparent, placing access to the cardboard fortress out of the viewer's reach.[25][22]

Since 1989[26], Herold has been created abstract figures made of Beluga caviar,[12] a sort of abstract expressionism[19] like the Untitled series (1991-).[2] He also portrayed different personalities like Mike Tyson[27], Bertrand Russell, Lionel Richie, William Burroughs, Sean Penn, Barry White, Charles de Gaulle Mark Lombardi[6][28] and, he even has counted the number of fish eggs used for creating some of his caviar paintings.[29]

Herold's sculpturing style is accepted as minimalism or Neo Dada minimalism by art critiques,[1] galleries[13] and journalists.[30][31][32] Herold's sculpted figures often are slightly distorted, filiforms, stretched to the point of breaking, often reaching towards something, pushing their body postures, while trapped in an unbearable state.[33][26] Some of Herold's works include: G.O.E.L.R.O (1988), Hospitalismus (1989), The Bow (1989), Untitled (1990), Resteuropa (Rest of Europe) (1998), Rumsfeld (2004), Red Square (2005), Platz des himmlischen Friedens (2005), Lost in Tolerance (2006), Flamingo (2007). All these artworks are sculptures or installations made of bricks, canvas, laths, color lacquer and screws.[27][13][34][35]

In 1989 The New York Times reviewer found the figurative paintings of Herold, Martin Kippenberger and Rosemarie Trockel exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum making "little sense in a pictorial context"[36] while in 1990, on the occasion of a group exhibition held at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery, another The New York Times reviewer found Herold's caviar paintings "seminal and astral".[37] In 2012 took place a New Art Dealers Alliance fair in Chelsea where Herold exhibited a 1989 caviar painting and an artwork made of bricks.[38]


Herold played in Martin Kippenberger und Co – Ein Dokument. "Ich kann mir nicht jeden Tag ein Ohr abschneiden." (Martin Kippenberger and Co – A Document. "I can not cut my ears every day".), a 25 minutes documentary, along with Albert Oehlen, Markus Oehlen, Werner Büttner, Hans Peter Adamski, Peter Bommels and Volker Tannert. The documentary was produced and directed by Jacqueline Kaess-Farquet.[39][40][41] The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Frankfurt General Newspaper) reviewer found that the artists had "ironic or even a bit of a bourgeois appearance".[39]


Besides his artistic career, Georg Herold is also a professor at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in Düsseldorf. Between 1993–1999 Herold was a professor at the College of Fine Arts in Frankfurt.[3]


Herold has exhibited his artwork in museums and galleries across the US and Europe. These include: MoMa (New York), Gerhardsen Gerner (Oslo, Norway), Galerie Bärbel Grässlin (Frankfurt, Germany), Sadie Coles HQ Gallery (London, UK), Gabriele Senn Galerie (Vienna, Austria), Galerie Max Hetzler (Berlin, Germany), Sabine Knust Galerie & Maximilianverlag (Munich, Germany), Brooke Alexander Gallery (New York), Villa Arson Gallery (Nice, France), Air de Paris Gallery (Nice) et cetera.[42]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g Williams, Gregory H. (2012). Permission to Laugh: Humor and Politics in Contemporary German Art. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 104–120. ISBN 9780226898957. 
  2. ^ a b c d Stonard, Jean-Paul (February 2008). "Georg Herold" (PDF). Artforum. Artforum. p. 303. Retrieved 2 August 2017. (Subscription required (help)). In his so-called caviar paintings, begun in 1989, […] Herold asks questions of material and spiritual value in a consistently more engaging manner and, as the display here shows, proves the depth of his attack by not flinching from taking his own work as a target.[…] Yet he cannot escape the rather obvious point that rather than destroying the valuable Beluga eggs, paintings such as Untitled increase their value by placing them in the luxury market for art. 
  3. ^ a b c d Gerner, Gerhardsen. "Georg Herold". Retrieved 2 August 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Georg Herold". BAWAG Contemporary. 1999. Retrieved 2 August 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "George Herold: Uncertain Relationships". InLiquid. Archived from the original on 2012-03-09. Retrieved 2 August 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c d Christofori, Ralf (September 2005). "Georg Herold". Frieze. No. 93. Retrieved 2 August 2017. 
  7. ^ Weitman, Wendy; Wye, Deborah (2006). Eye on Europe: Prints, Books & Multiples, 1960 to Now. New York, NY: Museum of Modern Art. p. 172. ISBN 9780870703713. 
  8. ^ "I Believe in Dürer". Kunst Kultur Quartier (in German). 14 December 2015. Retrieved 2 August 2017. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Volske, Daniel (February 2009). "Mit viel Witz und noch mehr Ernst: Der Kunstler Georg Herold ahmt seit 30 Jahren Wissenschaft und Kunst nack - mit Baumaterialien un Kaviar. Ein Zwischenbericht" [With great wit and even more serious: the artist Georg Herold has been taking science and art for 30 years - with building materials and caviar. An interim report.] (PDF). Monopol (in German) (2): 44–52. OCLC 936181807. Retrieved 2 August 2017. 
  10. ^ "Georg Herold". Sadie Coles HQ. Retrieved 2 August 2017. 
  11. ^ "Georg Herold". 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2017. 
  12. ^ a b Pagel, David (3 May 2013). "Art Review: Georg Herold "Dear Hunter" at Perry Rubenstein Gallery". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 August 2017. 
  13. ^ a b c d "Georg Herold" (PDF). SFMoMA. 1990. Retrieved 2 August 2017. [...] art is something that has form and meaning, and Herold's work comes close to having neither. Its meaning is deliberately obscure or absent, and its form seems imperiled, as in the brick painting, or even more often, random. One thinks of Marcel Duchamp'surinal which he inverted, entitled The Fountain [...]. 
  14. ^ "Documenta 9 at Documenta Kassel". Retrieved 2 August 2017. 
  15. ^ "Georg Herold: Articles". Saatchi Gallery. Retrieved 3 August 2017. [...]There is nothing left—there is no right, 1992, originally exhibited at Documenta 9[...] 
  16. ^ Cotter, Holland (8 July 2005). "Fanciful to Figurative to Wryly Inscrutable". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 August 2017. Georg Herold's assemblage of bricks punched through a mattress 
  17. ^ Fraser, Catherine C.; Hoffman, Dierk O. (2006). Pop Culture Germany! Media, Arts, and Lifestyle. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-Clio. p. 316. ISBN 978-1-85109-733-3. 
  18. ^ "Meisterprüfung". Monopol. Retrieved 2 August 2017. 
  19. ^ a b "Georg Herold at Contemporary Fine Arts". Contemporary Art Daily. 14 May 2009. Retrieved 2 August 2017. 
  20. ^ "Georg Herold, Albert Oehlen, Christopher Wool". The Renaissance Society. 1989. Retrieved 3 August 2017. 
  21. ^ "Museumsguide - Georg Herold, Genetischer Eingriff in die Erbmasse bei Fr. Herold, 1945/85". Retrieved 9 August 2017. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f Stonard, Jean-Paul (February 2008). "Georg Herold" (PDF). Artforum. Artforum. p. 303. Retrieved 9 August 2017. 
  23. ^ Buchmaier, Barbara. "Georg Herold at Museum Ludwig, Cologne". Retrieved 9 August 2017. 
  24. ^ a b Stonard, John-Paul (February 2008). "Georg Herold - MutualArt". Retrieved 9 August 2017. 
  25. ^ Gampert, Von Christian (11 March 2005). "Das Teesieb in der Kunst. Retrospektive des Plastikers Georg Herold in Baden-Baden". Deutschlandfunk (in German). Retrieved 9 August 2017. 
  26. ^ a b Campagnola, Sonia (May–June 2009). "Georg Herold" (PDF). Flash Art. Retrieved August 2, 2017. 
  27. ^ Nedo, Kito (2011). Georg Herold: Sunny Side Up. Berlin: Contemporary Fine Arts. ISBN 978-3931355692. 
  28. ^ "Georg Herold". Frieze. Retrieved 3 August 2017. 
  29. ^ Smith, Roberta (22 January 1989). "ART VIEW: Art That Doesn't Care Too Much About Its Looks". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 August 2017. To the left is Georg Herold's For Members Only, an exercise in what might be called neo-Dada minimalism - a work steeped in the present. 
  30. ^ "Georg Herold". The Saatchi Gallery. Retrieved 2 August 2017. 
  31. ^ John, Caldwell (1996). This is about who we are : the collected writings of John Caldwell. San Francisco, California: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. pp. 137–138. ISBN 9780918471369. 
  32. ^ Gilois, Bettina (8 May 2013). "The History of the Stick: Georg Herold's Path to Mastery". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2 August 2017. 
  33. ^ Bering, Kunibert; Niehoff, Rolf (2015). Visual proficiency - A perspective on art education (1 ed.). Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. pp. 292–293. ISBN 978-3-89896-774-7. 
  34. ^ "Georg Herold at Gerhardsen Gerner". Contemporary Art Daily. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2017. 
  35. ^ Brenson, Michael (10 February 1989). "Review/Art; 'The German Image'". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 August 2017. Although it is useful to see figurative paintings by Rosemarie Trockel, Georg Herold and Martin Kippenberger, who are known in New York for three-dimensional work, their paintings make little sense in a pictorial context. 
  36. ^ Smith, Roberta (12 October 1990). "Review/Art; Virtuoso Italian Drawings From the 18th Century". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 August 2017. Georg Herold, from Germany, splashes caviar onto canvas for a look that is both seminal and astral. 
  37. ^ Rosenberg, Karen (4 May 2012). "The NADA Art Fair in Chelsea". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 August 2017. 
  38. ^ a b Voss, Julia (23 July 2015). "Die Kunst der Achtziger: Die Freiheit der „Genialen Dilletanten"". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Frankfurt General Newspaper) (in German). Retrieved 2 August 2017. 
  39. ^ "Jacqueline Kaess-Farquet Filmscreening". Städtische Kunsthalle München (Munich's Department of Arts and Culture). 2010. Retrieved 2 August 2017. 
  40. ^ "Martin Kippenberger und Co – Ein Dokument. Ich kann mir nicht jeden Tag ein Ohr abschneiden". (in German). Independent Artfilms. Retrieved 2 August 2017. 
  41. ^ "Georg Herold's Biography". Gerhardsen Gerner. Retrieved 3 August 2017. 

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