Wolfgang Staehle was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1950. He attended the Freie Kunstschule, in Stuttgart, and in 1976 he moved to New York to attend the School of Visual Arts, New York (BFA) where he studied with Joseph Kosuth (Conceptual Art), Marshall Blonsky (Semiotics), Robert Mangold (Painting), Jackie Winsor (Sculpture), Richard Van Buren (Sculpture), Storm De Hirsch (Experimental Film), Todd Watts (Photography), Ed Bowes (Video), Anina Nosei (Art History), and Jeanne Siegel (Art History).
After a successful career in various New York in European galleries in the 1980s, Staehle decided to work collectively, and in 1991 he founded The Thing, an innovative online forum for artists and cultural workers. The Thing began as a Bulletin Board System (BBS), a form of online community dialogue used before the advent of the World Wide Web. By the late 90s, The Thing grew into a diverse online community made up of dozens of members' Web sites, mailing lists, a successful Web hosting service, a community studio in Chelsea, and the first Web site devoted to Net Art, bbs.thing.net.
In 1996, Staehle began to produce an ongoing series of live online video streams. The first of these works was Empire 24/7, a continuous recording of the top one-third of the Empire State Building that is broadcast live over the Internet. Staehle has followed Empire 24/7 with online streams of other buildings, landscapes and cityscapes such as Berlin's Fernsehturm, the Comburg Monastery in Germany, lower Manhattan before and after 9/11, and a Yanomami village in the Brazilian Amazon. He continues to expand this series while serving as the Executive Director of The Thing.
Wolfgang Staehle is represented by Postmasters Gallery, New York.