Art in the Age of Anxiety

Art in the Age of Anxiety

Edited by Omar Kholeif

Artists and writers examine the bombardment of information, misinformation, emotion, deception, and secrecy in online and offline life in the post-digital age.





Artists and writers examine the bombardment of information, misinformation, emotion, deception, and secrecy in online and offline life in the post-digital age.

Every day we are bombarded by information, misinformation, emotion, deception, and secrecy in our online and offline lives. How does the never-ending flow of data affect our powers of perception and decision making? This richly illustrated and boldly designed collection of essays and artworks investigates visual culture in the post-digital age.

The essays, by such leading cultural thinkers as Douglas Coupland and W. J. T. Mitchell, consider topics that range from the future of money to the role of art in a post-COVID-19 world; from mental health in the digital age to online grieving; and from the mediation of visual culture to the thickening of the digital sphere. Accompanying an ambitious exhibition conceived by the Sharjah Art Foundation and volume editor and curator Omar Kholeif, the book is a work of art and a labor of love, emulating the labyrinthine corridors of the exhibition itself. Created by a group of writers, artists, designers, photographers, and publishers, Art in the Age of Anxiety calls upon us to consider what our collective future will be and how humanity will adapt to it.


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, Marc Tuters

Photo essays

Cory Arcangel, Douglas Coupland, Simon Denny, and Danko Stjepanovic


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

Copublished by Mörel Books and Sharjah Art Foundation


$34.95 T ISBN: 9781907071805 400 pp. | 6.8 in x 10 in 143 color illus., 3 b&w illus.


Omar Kholeif

Omar Kholeif, a writer, curator, and cultural historian, is Director of Collections and Senior Curator at Sharjah Art Foundation. Named a “Game-changer” by British GQ and one of the “Art World's Global Influencers” by the international art magazine Apollo, he has curated more than 100 exhibitions and special projects. He is the editor of the Whitechapel Gallery/MIT Press volume Moving Image; editor of You Are Here: Art After the Internet; and the author of Goodbye, World! Looking at Art in the Digital Age (Sternberg Press).


  • “This book is FOR and OF our times…

    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 key words – all of them concerned with mapping the contemporary condition and, more importantly, searching for ways to survive within it.”

    Erika Balsom

    Critic and Reader 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, and 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