Art in the Age of Anxiety

You don’t expect a catalogue to move you physically and intellectually, body and brain, but this one will; as much as it is about a technology, it is also about human touch. At a time when it is difficult to be together, Art in the Age of Anxiety clarifies how technology binds us together and binds us apart. Touch this book! It will bring you closer. It may even make you cry…"

Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press, Artist and Activist 

"Who isn't anxious these days? Art in the Age of Anxiety offers a sweeping account of how it feels to inhabit the manifold crises of our technologized present. More than an exhibition catalogue, it is a compendium of proposals, confessions, conversations, and keywords – all of them concerned with mapping the contemporary condition and, more importantly, searching for ways to survive within it." 

Dr Erika Balsom, Critic and Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at King's College London. 


"Accompanying the exhibition of the same name, Art in the Age of Anxiety is a highly stimulating read that successfully expands the concepts of both exhibition space and catalogue. The reader continues and enhances the dialogue started by a show that opened as the world moved into a state of collective anxiety. Framing documentation of the artworks included in the physical exhibition are contributions by leading thinkers and artists — from Douglas Coupland and Cory Arcangel to Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Aruba Khalid — that ponder topics such as the future of money, genetic analysis, software personae, as well as loss and grief. The book's associative openness of reflection makes it an indispensable companion to understanding the art of our time and its future paths.”

Christiane Paul, Adjunct Curator of Digital Art, Whitney Museum of American Art
Professor of Media Studies and Director of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, The New School

Edited by Dr. Omar Kholeif, FRSA 

Co-published by Sharjah Art Foundation and Mörel Books. 

Foreword by Hoor Al Qasimi

With original essay contributions by  Anonymous, Saira Ansari, Cory Arcangel, Jeremy Bailey, Douglas Coupland, Simon Denny, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Aruba Khalid, Omar Kholeif, Norman M. Klein, W. J. T. Mitchell, Todd Reisz, Danko Stjepanovic, and Marc Tuters

With photo essays by Cory Arcangel, Douglas Coupland, Simon Denny 

Exhibition Photography by Danko Stjepanovic

Artists: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Cory Arcangel, Jeremy Bailey, Wafaa Bilal, James Bridle, Antoine Catala, Douglas Coupland, Thomson & Craighead, Simon Denny, Aleksandra Domanović, Constant Dullaart, Electronic Disturbance Theater, Cao Fei, Oliver Laric, Lynn Hershman-Leeson, Rafael Lozanno-Hemmer, Eva and Franco Mattes, Josha Nathanson, Katja Novitskova, Trevor Paglen, Jon Rafman, Tabor Robak, Pamela Rosenkranz, Aura Satz, Bogosi Sekhukhuni, Jenna Sutela, United Visual Artists (UVA), Siebren Veersteeg, Andrew Norman Wilson, Guan Xiao and YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES. 


Book Description

Art in the Age of Anxiety conjures the bombardment of information, misinformation, deception and secrecy that invades both online and offline life in the 'post-digital' age. It invites the reader to consider how one's perception and decision-making has been deeply affected by the proliferation of internet access, which now surpasses 3 billion users worldwide. 

This publication brings together some of the major thought leaders in the field of image and internet culture. They have each produced new critical writings that interrogate the digital realm from a variety of perspectives. Their writings are presented alongside beautifully produced artistic interventions to create a book that operates as an exhibition in its own right. 

Themes explored within the publication, include, the future of money; the role of art in a post-COVID-19 era; mental health in the digital age; the mediation of image culture through the internet; the surfaces of exhibitions online; grieving online; the thickening of the digital sphere, as well as a re-appraisal of cross-embedded media. This meticulously designed book is a labour of love produced by a collective of writers, artists, designers, photographers and publishers. Ultimately, this pivotal piece of work seeks to ask: What is our collective future and how will humanity adapt to it? 

This major publication coincides with the exhibition, Art in the Age of Anxiety was the most ambitious exhibition to look at the relationship between art and the internet ever to be held in the Middle East. Curated by Dr. Omar Kholeif, one of the leading voices in the conversation on art and its relationship to technology - the exhibition explored how our everyday devices and their attendant networks have affected our collective and individual consciousness. The project was designed by leading architect, Todd Reisz, who worked with Kholeif and the Sharjah Art Foundation team to create an immersive, labyrinth that played with cognition, light and shadow -inviting the viewer to consider their complicit role in the increasingly corporatised technological sphere. After delays due to COVID-19, the exhibition opened in the summer of 2020 and was one of the most popular exhibits in the Sharjah Art Foundation's history. 

ISBN: 9781907071805

424 Pages 
17.5 X 25 cm 
1.3 kg

ISBN: 9781907071805

About Omar Kholeif

Dr. Omar Kholeif, FRSA, writer, curator and cultural historian is the Director of Collections and Senior Curator at Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE. He has curated over 100 exhibitions of visual art, architecture and digital culture on six continents and published 31 books, which have collectively been translated into 12 languages. Considered one of the most prolific curators of his generation, Dr. Kholeif has also been a visiting professor at some of the world's leading higher education institutes, including the University of Chicago; Northwestern University; Hunter College, City University of New York and the University of Oxford. He is a trustee of Space, London, where he is Chair: Access, Equity and Inclusion and an Ambassador for Mental Health Research UK. You can find out more or reach him through his website:

About Sharjah Art Foundation

Sharjah Art Foundation is an advocate, catalyst and producer of contemporary art within the Emirate of Sharjah and the surrounding region, in dialogue with the international arts community. Under the leadership of founder Hoor Al Qasimi, a curator and artist, the foundation advances an experimental and wide-ranging programmatic model that supports the production and presentation of contemporary art, preserves and celebrates the distinct culture of the region and encourages a shared understanding of the transformational role of art. The foundation’s core initiatives include the Sharjah Biennial, featuring contemporary artists from around the world; the annual March Meeting, a convening of international arts professionals and artists; grants and residencies for artists, curators and cultural producers; ambitious and experimental commissions and a range of travelling exhibitions and scholarly publications. Established in 2009 to expand programmes beyond the Sharjah Biennial, which launched in 1993, the foundation is a critical resource for artists and cultural organisations in the Gulf and a conduit for local, regional and international developments in contemporary art. The foundation’s deep commitment to developing and sustaining the cultural life and heritage of Sharjah is reflected through year-round exhibitions, performances, screenings and educational programmes in the city of Sharjah and across the Emirate, often hosted in historic buildings that have been repurposed as cultural and community centres. A growing collection reflects the foundation’s support of contemporary artists in the realisation of new work and its recognition of the contributions made by pioneering modern artists from the region and around the world. Sharjah Art Foundation is a legally independent public body established by Emiri Decree and supported by government funding, grants from national and international nonprofits and cultural organisations, corporate sponsors and individual patrons. All exhibitions are free and open to the public.