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Peter Weibel

Peter Weibel is Chairman and CEO of the ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe. He coedited the recent ZKM/MIT Press volumes Molecular Aesthetics and The Global Contemporary and the Rise of New Art Worlds.

Titles by This Editor

Art and Conflict in the 21st Century
Edited by Peter Weibel

Today political protest often takes the form of spontaneous, noninstitutional, mass action. Mass protests during the Arab Spring showed that established systems of power—in that case, the reciprocal support among Arab dictators and Western democracies—can be interrupted, at least for a short moment in history. These new activist movements often use online media to spread their message. Mass demonstrations from Tahrir Square in Cairo to Taksim Square in Istanbul show the power of networked communication to fuel “performative democracy”—at the center of which stands the global citizen.

Thanks to advances in molecular science and microscopy, we can visualize matter on a nanoscale, and structures not visible to the naked eye can be visualized and characterized. The fact that technology allows us to transcend the limits of natural perception and see what was previously unseeable creates a new dimension of aesthetic experience and practice: molecular aesthetics. This book, drawing on an exhibit and symposium at ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, documents aesthetic developments in what Félix Guattari called the “molecular revolution.”
    

The geography of the visual arts changed with the end of the Cold War. Contemporary art was no longer defined, exhibited, interpreted, and acquired according to a blueprint drawn up in New York, London, Paris, or Berlin. The art world distributed itself into art worlds. With the emergence of new art scenes in Asia and the Middle East and the explosion of biennials, the visual arts have become globalized as surely as the world economy has. This book offers a new map of contemporary art’s new worlds.
    

Artist's Artist

Paul Thek occupied a place between high art and low art, between the epic and the everyday. During his brief life (1933-1988), he went against the grain of art world trends, humanizing the institutional spaces of art with the force of his humor, spirituality, and character. Twenty years after Thek's death from AIDS, we can now recognize his influence on contemporary artists ranging from Vito Acconci and Bruce Nauman to Matthew Barney, Mike Kelley, and Paul McCarthy, as well as Kai Althoff, Jonathan Meese, and Thomas Hirschhorn.

Media Study, Media Practice, Media Pioneers, 1973–1990

Twentieth-century art history is not just a history of individuals, but of collectives, groups. Universities and colleges have had much to do with this through their support of artistic communities and creative interactions. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Bauhaus was known for this. In the 1940s, Black Mountain College became a leader in community-based visual art practice and education. And in the 1970s and 1980s, the Department of Media Study at the State University of New York at Buffalo was the place to be.