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Dr Stewart Martin - Lecturer in Philosophy and Fine Art

Dr Stewart Martin

Associate Professor in Philosophy and Fine Art

Stewart Martin is a member of the Visual Culture and Curating Research Cluster.


My research has tended to concern the philosophical critique of capitalism, with particular attention to issues of culture and contemporary art. Frankfurt School 'Critical Theory' has been particularly influential in this orientation – my PhD thesis addressed 'Adorno and the Problem of Philosophy' (2002) – but a range of other schools and figures have also contributed to my current approaches, particularly recent French philosophy. Within the broad scope of my research, I have pursued a number of projects. These include: a critical reconsideration of the history of philosophical aesthetics; an investigation of the idea of 'absolute art'; a study of the internalization of capitalism within the self-conception of philosophy; and, latterly, a philosophical examination of the subsumption of life by capital. My publications mostly derive from one or another of these projects. Currently, I am writing a book on the subsumption of life by capital in the writings of Marx and various post-Marxist thinkers. I am also working on an examination of the aesthetic consequences of such a subsumption.

Other details: member of the editorial collective of the journal Radical Philosophy.


PhD supervisions:

Director of Studies:

Ronny Hardliz: Wall Sandwich: The Architectural Gesture and Art Practice from Destruction to Non-Construction

Anthony Iles: Determining the Devices of Autonomy: Self-Publishing in the 1990s and 2000s

Second Supervisor:

Alex Charnley: The Labour of Spectacle: Aesthetics, Politics and the Idea of VFX as a Radical Popular Art

Joon Yang Kim: Machine, Animal, and Human: The Phenomenon of Movement that Suggests Life or Soul in Animation


Selected publications

‘Sohn-Rethel's Critique of Epistemology and Art', in Fugellie and Gerber eds., Das Wissen der Arbeit und das Wissen der Kuenste, Fink, Paderborn, forthcoming

'A gallery closed in spring: On Maria Eichhorn's 5 weeks, 25 days, 175 hours', in Guggenheim and Staple eds., 5 weeks, 25 days, 175 hours, Chisenhale Gallery, London, 2016, pp. 50-8.

'Political Economy of Life: Negt and Kluge’s History and Obstinacy’, Radical Philosophy no. 190, March/April 2015, pp. 25-36.

‘Marx, Karl Heinrich’ entry in Oxford Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, 2nd Edition, vol. 4, Oxford University Press, 2014, pp. 255-9.

‘Approaching Marx’s Aesthetics, or What is Sensuous Practice?’ in Re/New Marxist Art History, edited by Warren Carter, Barnaby Haran and Frederic J. Schwartz, Art/Books, London, 2013, pp. 78-93.

‘Short Treatise on Art’, in Aesthetics and Contemporary Art, edited by Armen Avanessian and Luke Skrebowski, Sternberg Press, Berlin and New York, 2011, pp. 145-157.

‘Capitalist Life in Lukács’, in Georg Lukács: The Fundamental Dissonance of Existence, edited by Timothy Bewes and Timothy Hall, Continuum, London, 2011, pp. 138-153.

‘Artistic Communism – A Sketch’, Third Text [special issue on ‘Art, Praxis and the Community to Come’ edited by John Roberts], vol. 23, issue 4, July 2009, pp. 481-94.

‘Visual Culture or Art?’, in Kunst und Politik, Bd. 10, 2008, pp. 21-28.

‘Pedagogy of Human Capital’, in Mute, vol. 2, #8, 2008. Also available at: http://www.metamute.org/en/Pedagogy-of-Human-Capital. Republished in The Perfect Storm, Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, 2008. Translated into Danish as 'Den menneskelige kapitals pædagogik', in Bidrag til kritik af den politiske vidensøkonomi, edited by Jakob Jakobsen, Nebula / Antipyrine Distribution, Copenhagen, 2014.

‘The Absolute Artwork Meets The Absolute Commodity’, in Radical Philosophy, no. 146, Nov/Dec 2007, pp. 15-25. Republished in What Is To Be Done? [Magazine] #01 [special issue on ‘What is the use of art?], 2009 - available at http://www.chtodelat.org/

‘Wall’s Tableau Mort’, in Oxford Art Journal, (special issue on Jeff Wall), vol 30.1, March 2007, 117-133.

‘An Aesthetic Education Against Aesthetic Education’, in Radical Philosophy, no. 141, Jan/Feb 2007, pp. 39-42. (Contribution to the Documenta 12 Journals project.) Republished/translated in TkH 13 [Journal for Performing Arts Theory, Belgrade], Sept 2007, pp. 12-16. Republished in Curating and the Educational Turn, edited by O’Neill and Wilson, Open Editions, 2010. Translation into French forthcoming in 2015.

‘Critique of Relational Aesthetics’, in ISMS : Recuperating Political Radicality in Contemporary Art: Constructing the Political, Verksted no. 8, Kuzma and Osborne eds., Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Oslo, 2007, pp. 97-127. Republished in Third Text, Volume 21, Issue 4, July 2007, pp. 369-386

‘Literature and the Modern System of the Arts: Adorno’s Theory of Art and the Arts:’, in Adorno and Literature, Cunningham and Mapp eds., Continuum, London and New York, 2006, pp. 9-25.

‘Culs-de-sac’ [Review article of Jacques Rancière, The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible and Alain Badiou, Handbook of Inaesthetics], in Radical Philosophy, no. 131, May/June, 2005, pp. 39-44. Translated in Le Monde Diplomatique (Norwegian-Danish edition), April 2006, pp. 18-19.

‘W.G. Sebald and the Modern Art of Memory’, Radical Philosophy, no. 132, July/Aug 2005, pp.18-30. Reprinted in Photography and Literature in the Twentieth Century, Cunningham, Fisher and Mays eds., Cambridge Scholars Press, 2005, pp. 180-201.

‘A New World Art? Documenting Documenta 11’, Radical Philosophy, no. 122, Nov/Dec, 2003, pp. 7-19.

‘Anti-Art and Autonomy: Adorno’s Theory of Avant-Garde Art’, (special section on ‘The Aesthetics of Late Modernism’, edited by J.M. Bernstein) Constellations, vol. 7, no. 2, 2000, pp. 197-207. Republished in Theodor Adorno. Sage Masters in Modern Social Thought, 4 volumes, Delanty ed., Sage Publications, 2004, in vol. 2 (‘Aesthetic Theory’), pp. 179-91.