Title META
Location Stuttgart
Publisher Künstlerhaus Stuttgart
Periodicity Annual
ISSN 0940-4813
URL Meta Worldcat
Published Since 1992-1994
Indexed Holdings 1992-1994


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Periodical's Overview

META magazine does not just provide commentary and reflection, it is a continuation of the Künstlerhaus [Stuttgart] programme by other means. META is just as authentic as what is shown in the building and elsewhere, and as authentic as the events it reports.”[1]

“Has art with political ambition perhaps spread only because the latest crisis in the art market could somehow best be tackled with “critical subjects”? In any case the business has to be kept going by reasoned argument, and anyways people are fed up with 'art-art.'

Or is something quite different happening in reality -- on both sides of the Atlantic: artists increasingly understand that “business malfunctions” of this kind can mean substantive gains for art. We are able to remind ourselves today, as we were not during the art boom of the eighties, that we cannot endlessly consume the concept of art, but that it sometimes has to be nourished as well.”[2]

“From the very beginning META perceived itself as a place in which current artistic practises [sic] were to be reflected in the mirror of those of their “forerunners” which had already been dealt with in historical terms. Not to prove that there is nothing new under the sun, quite the contrary, but to show that much of what is presumed to have happened before often does not make an impact until the troubled waters above it have become smoother. No longer encumbered by a fixation with “the new,” we are suddenly capable of appreciating entirely different relationships, another context.”[3]

Selected Subject Headings

  • Aesthetic experience
  • Advertising - discourse analysis
  • Archives - political aspects
  • Artists as exhibition curators
  • Biometric identification
  • Feminism and art - exhibitions
  • Follies (architecture) - Germany
  • Genetic psychology
  • Imagination
  • Information - aesthetics
  • Installations (art)
  • Museum architecture - social aspects
  • Stupidity - United States
  • Truth
  • Television archives - Lebanon
  • Women artists - exhibitions


4 META issues were published in 3 years; their contents stemmed from the activities that took place at the Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, which included exhibitions, public programs and conferences. Conceptualized and edited by experimental curator Ute Meta Bauer, these handsome bilingual volumes are a valuable document of a particular historical and cultural moment in Germany, the early millennial 1990s.

Grounded in a thorough knowledge of its conceptual art antecedents (periodicals like The Fox, Red-herring, Art-Language et al.), META enacted a self-conscious desire to continue this legacy of sustained thought dedicated to art, and its social and political imbrications via an analysis of its different contexts.

Each volume had a theme:

  • META 1 - Die Kunst und ihr Ort
  • META 2 - A new spirit in curating
  • META 4 - Atlanten und Archive
  • META 3 - Radical chic

Accessed from the present moment one cannot but wonder about how prescient this periodical was in terms of presenting what would be the major epistemes and major Anglo-German figures (artists, critics, curators) that would shape the different discourses about non-trade art that would fully develop in the late 1990s and 2000s; this is, a period of time that brought the art subculture’s dramatic expansion and full incorporation into the culture industry; with the current surplus of freelance curators, it is difficult to imagine now that there was a moment in recent history in which those were rare; and that existed an institutional space for reflection about the then-developing managerial structure.

The same farsightedness applies to the special issue dedicated to Archives, or archives in art, as this would become one of the major currents investigated by artists and curators during the 2000s, its rhetoric even exploited to a point of exhaustion. Art contexts, or the contexts of art, as well as the eternal debate regarding “politics and art” or “what is political art?” constituted the other volumes, and it all fits nicely with the embraced lineage of which META is a brilliant continuation.

The periodical also included Künstlerhaus Stuttagart exhibitions’ documentation and some artist’s pages, among them François Joseph Chabrillat’s project which arched the publication’s life span, as his work occupied all four of META’s opening pages. As META 4 was published before META 3, it is difficult to ascertain if Chabrillat’s work was published in order, or even if order was needed for the work to be ‘complete;’ these self-reflective gestures regarding the “right order of things” or whether “historical order dominates aesthetic order”[4] give an indication of the thoughtful complexity espoused by META.

If one were to contextualize META with other contemporary periodical publications, one could think of it in relation with Cologne’s Texte zur Kunst and New York’s Acme journal, providing an intellectual portrait of a particular moment in the Anglo Germanic art and thought nexus; a combined indexical perusal and analysis of the contents of these three journals would attest to the importance that such ventures had in shaping future discursive frameworks and providing a space for meaningful artistic practices, no matter if the economic and ideological structure of each publication differ. What’s of note then are the networks overlaps attesting for a shared belief by all publications on the social, political and not least, aesthetic relevance and power of art.

Brief, but dense, META was true to its statements and “nourished” art.

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[1] Ute Meta Bauer. “Newsletter,” META, no. 2 (November 1992): 5. [2] Ute Meta Bauer. “Editorial,” META, no. 4 (November 1993): 5. [3] Ute Meta Bauer. “Editorial,” META, no. 3 (November 1994): 5. [4] Ibid.