Howard Fried

American (Cleveland, Ohio, 1946)

A major figure in Conceptual art in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1970, Howard Fried became known for his performance, video, film, and sculptural installations. Early works that often featured the artist in and around his studio metaphorically addressed and objectified aspects of his daily experience and psychological processes. Exploratory in nature, Fried's work reflects an interest in decision making and how information is perceived and read. His highly composed and edited videos are characterized by his attention to the role of time sequences, camera perspective, and spatial and semiotic relationships. Several groundbreaking pieces establish a problem or conflict and the possibility of its resolution within a piece. In such works the artist often uses the structure of a game or activity between multiple participants to observe the behavior of the individual in response to the situation.

Based in the Bay Area since 1967, Fried received his B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1968 and his M.F.A. from the University of California at Davis in 1970. He founded the performance and video department (now New Genres) at the San Francisco Art Institute.


From June 3, 2013, through early 2016, SFMOMA's building on Third Street in San Francisco will be temporarily closed for expansion construction. Selected artworks in our collection are included in a range of off-site exhibitions during this period. We regret that the remainder of the collection will not be available for study during this time.

In the meantime, we invite you to explore a wide selection of our collection online. Please note that the information presented online is subject to revision. Please contact us at collections@sfmoma.org to verify artwork details.

This resource is for educational use and its contents may not be reproduced without permission. Please review our Terms of Use for more information.