Art in the Age of Anxiety, Omar Kholeif, ed. Reader. 428 pages, 146 visuals; 17.3 x 25.4 cm. Published by Sharjah Art Foundation and Mörel Books, 2020. Distributed by MIT Press. Image courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation


Art in the Age of Anxiety is a new major publication released by Sharjah Art Foundation and Mörel Books, London, and distributed by the MIT Press. Released internationally on 26 January 2021, the publication accompanies the landmark exhibition of the same name that took place at Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) from 26 June to 26 September 2020, and brings together thought leaders in the field of image and internet culture to consider how consciousness has been deeply affected by the proliferation of everyday technological devices and platforms. Authored collectively during a period of lockdown, the book functions as a historical document depicting how we look at art in an age of crisis. Edited by SAF Director of Collections and Senior Curator Omar Kholeif with a foreword by SAF President and Director Hoor Al Qasimi, the 428-page book features original historical essays, critical writing from multiple points of view and artistic interventions that interrogate the digital realm. Functioning as an exhibition in its own right, the book weaves together extensive photographic documentation of the show, and explorations into the internet by many of the artists in the exhibition.

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; and the thickening of the digital sphere. Produced by writers, artists, designers, photographers and publishers, the book ultimately seeks to ask: what is our collective future and how will humanity adapt to it?

The publication includes essays 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 and Marc Tuters; with photo essays by Cory Arcangel, Douglas Coupland and Simon Denny; and specially commissioned exhibition photography by Danko Stjepanovic.

The publication can be purchased through the MIT Press website here, or at the Foundation’s shops in Al Mureijah Art Spaces, Arts Square and The Flying Saucer. International distribution partners include Amazon (Kindle and print), Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Indigo, Powell’s and Waterstones. Art in the Age of Anxiety will soon be available with selected local distribution partners as well.

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About Art in the Age of Anxiety
Art in the Age of Anxiety was the most ambitious exhibition in the Middle East to explore art in the age of the internet. Curated by Omar Kholeif, it presented a diverse and a global group of contemporary artists who explored the ways everyday devices, technologies and digital networks have altered our collective consciousness. The exhibition presented more than 60 artworks spanning sculpture, prints, video, virtual reality, robotics and algorithmic programs developed by more than 30 international artists and collectives.

The participating artists were 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.

The exhibition was on view at the Foundation’s Galleries 1, 2 and 3, Al Mureijah Art Spaces from 26 June to 26 September 2020.

About Mörel Books

Mörel Books is a non-profit publisher specializing in limited edition Photo and Art Books. They view the book as an integral step in an artist’s creative process, and encourage artists to engage in the conception, design and feel of the book. Having worked on the book closely with the artist/s, Mörel feels it is only right that they also keep a close relationship with independent bookshops and booksellers. Occasionally their books can be bought with special editions.

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 long-running 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 and events are free and open to the public.

About Sharjah

Sharjah is the third-largest of the seven United Arab Emirates, and the only one bridging the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Reflecting the deep commitment to the arts, architectural preservation and cultural education embraced by its ruler, Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Sharjah is home to more than 20 museums and has long been known as the cultural hub of the United Arab Emirates. In 1998, it was named UNESCO's 'Arab Capital of Culture' and was designated the UNESCO ‘World Book Capital’ for the year 2019.

Media Contacts

Sharjah Art Foundation:
Alyazeyah Al Reyaysa,, +971(0)65444113