The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) announced today the appointment of Rudolf Frieling as SFMOMA’s curator of media arts. Frieling comes to SFMOMA from the ZKM Center for Art and Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Germany, where he has held a number of positions since 1994. The ZKM is a world-renowned institution that explores new media in both theory and practice by presenting exhibitions, events, programs, research, and documentation. Frieling will begin at SFMOMA in summer 2006.
“Rudolf brings to SFMOMA in-depth experience in exhibiting and programming media arts. We are looking forward to having him uphold the Museum’s reputation for important and innovative exhibitions, keeping SFMOMA at the forefront of the field,” says SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra.
Of his appointment, Frieling says, “I look forward to joining the SFMOMA team and further developing a media arts program that will reflect the diversity of current art production technologies. SFMOMA has an outstanding collection of video work—an ideal position from which to proceed with collecting and showing all forms of cultural production in the media arts realm.”
Most recently, Frieling organized the exhibition and restoration project titled 40yearsvideoart.de: Digital Heritage – Video Art in Germany from 1963 until the present. The exhibition, on view through May 2006, documents the importance and impact of media art in Germany’s cultural heritage. The project is supported by five leading art institutions in Germany, including the ZKM; K21/Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf; Kunsthalle Bremen; Lenbachhaus Munich; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Leipzig. It includes exhibitions as well as symposia on media art conservation and preservation. The two-fold objective is to study the process of video art deterioration and to develop the processes for restoration. The project is ground-breaking in its technical and editorial orientation and aims to set standards for the public presentation and art-historical reappraisal of video art in Germany.
From 1994 to 2001, Frieling was a curator at the ZKM and head of its video collection. During that time, he also instituted the International Media Art Award in conjunction with German Television. Since 2001, he has headed the online research project Media Art Net at the ZKM. Frieling has lectured on media history and theory at institutions including the School of Design, Mainz; University of Fine Arts, Berlin; University of Art and Design, Zurich; and the Media Centre d’Art y Disseny, Barcelona. He also has lectured at venues in the United States, including the Southern California Institute of Architecture and the Pasadena Art Center, and internationally, at Forum des Images, Paris; Auckland City Art Gallery; Hong Kong Art Centre; National Film Theatre, London; and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; among others.
Frieling’s past curatorial projects include Sound Image at Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City (2003); Net Art section at the 2002 São Paulo Bienal; cITy: Data on the city under the conditions of information technology at the ZKM (2000); Jochen Gerz, The Berkeley Oracle at the ZKM (1999); Fabrizio Plessi at Akademie der Künste, Berlin (1994); as well as several group exhibitions from 1989 to 1994 in conjunction with Berlin’s annual VideoFest, associated with the Berlin Film Festival.
Frieling studied English literature, social sciences, art history, and philosophy at Free University of Berlin and received a Ph.D. from the University of Hildesheim. He has written for major print, multimedia, and online publications, including the book series Media Art Action (1997); Media Art Interaction (2000); and Media Art Net 1/II (2004/2005), published by Springer, Vienna and New York.
At SFMOMA, Frieling will be responsible for the administration and stewardship of the Museum’s media arts collection, with special attention to its videos and electronic images, film-related projected image screenings, and other time-based animated art forms, including computer-associated performance art and sound.
Frieling also will be tasked with further developing the depth and quality of these media arts collections. He will originate, organize, and direct special exhibition projects and accompanying publications and supervise the presentation of traveling exhibitions to SFMOMA. Frieling will be responsible for developing interpretive public programming, including publications and lectures, and he will work in collaboration with the curator of education and public programs to develop events and programs to accompany exhibitions.
One of the few museums in the United States to include a media arts department in its curatorial division, SFMOMA began to collect and present media art—including video, electronic, and projected-media works—in 1972.