What if…?

On the Utopian in Art, Architecture, and Design

How do we want to live today and what artistic means can help us find productive approaches to do so?

This publication accompanying the ‘What if…?’ exhibition on the utopian brings together contemporary positions from art, architecture, and design in a dialog with references from the 1960s and 1970s.

It takes up contemporary calls for new utopias for the 21st century and aims at initiating social discussions and visions of the future not by means of dystopian prophecies, but by promoting new modes of thinking via productive discourse.

If one perceives utopia as a method of thinking, as an intellectual free space in which concepts for the future are tested while also critically reflecting the status quo, independent of what is currently realisable, it gains immediate significance for the present.

As creative engines, art, architecture, and design can make a meaningful contribution to promoting such alternative models of thought and reassessing utopian qualities.

Featuring an impressive roster of artists, designers, and architects including – Joseph Beuys, Cao Fei, Peter Fischli & David Weiss, European Democracy Lab, Mike Kelley, Martin Kippenberger, OMA, Nam June Paik, Paola Pivi, and Stephen Willats.

Published on the occasion of the exhibition at Neues Museum – Staatliches Museum für Kunst und Design / Museum for Art and Design, Nürnberg, 30 May – 20 September 2020.

English and German text.

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