Independent curator, author, and lecturer Sabine Breitwieser has been appointed chief curator of the department of Media and Performance Art at the Museum of Modern Art, it was announced today by MoMA director Glenn D. Lowry. Breitwieser, who from 1988 to 2007 served as founding director and curator of the Generali Foundation, a public contemporary art museum in Vienna, succeeds Klaus Biesenbach, who last year was appointed director of MoMA PS1, and chief curator at large at MoMA. She will begin her new position at MoMA on October 4.
“Throughout an extensive international search, Sabine Breitwieser emerged as the ideal candidate,” said Lowry. “She has tremendous experience in building a collection and a track record of organizing outstanding exhibitions. Her singular voice as a curator will be a great addition to MoMA.” In her new role, Breitwieser will lead a staff of six, and will oversee the department’s program of special exhibitions, installations from the collection, and acquisitions. One of MoMA’s seven curatorial departments, the department of Media and Performance Art collects, exhibits, and preserves time-based art, and holds a collection of more than 1,700 works of moving image installations, single-channel video, performance and documentary evidence, motion- and sound-based works, and other works that represent time or duration and are made for and presented in a gallery setting. Formerly the department of Media, the department’s name was changed in 2009 to better reflect the department’s exhibition and acquisition strategy.
Breitwieser said, “I’m thrilled to expand MoMA’s engagement in media and performance art and to enlarge the collection with significant new acquisitions in the coming years. In its pioneering times media and performance emerged as a reaction and in opposition to the ideology of modernism, in other words, as emancipatory movements negotiating the physical and the social space of the art. These media are highly relevant to today’s artistic practices, which modern and contemporary art museums must embrace. Media and performance art are among the most popular and cutting-edge fields in the arts, and the renewed interest in performance that we are currently experiencing is very exciting.”