SFMOMA collected photography since its opening in 1935, but it didn’t establish a Photography department until 1980. Now, photography forms the largest part of SFMOMA’s collection. In 1946, MoMA established its Department of Dance and Theatre Design. The museum fought over the department’s name and function until it eliminated the Department of Theatre Arts in 1948. Institutional walls – for photographs, for theatre design – go up & down. In this talk, I’ll consider how curatorial interests stick to & make that institutional space. I’ll be the case study.
Frank Smigiel is the Director of Arts Programming & Partnerships at the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture (FMCAC). He joined FMCAC after 10 years at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where he served as Associate Curator, Performance & Film. He directed public programs at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Rosenbach Museum & Library in Philadelphia. Smigiel was recently named Chair of the Exhibition & Museum Studies graduate program at SFAI. He holds a doctorate in English Literature from the University of Delaware.
Image: DESIRE LINES: RETROFIT, performance still, January 10, 2018. The image includes Rashaun Mitchell, Silas Riener, and Mina Nishimura. Photo credit: Frank Smigiel.