Dara Friedman (b. 1968, Bad Kreuznach, Germany; lives in Miami) uses everyday sights and sounds as the raw material for film and video artworks that reverberate with emotional energy. A former student of the famously rigorous Austrian filmmaker Peter Kubelka, Friedman engages tendencies in 20th-century experimental cinema that call for a radical reduction of the medium to its most essential material properties. In place of linear storylines, her films typically portray straightforward gestures and situations that unfold according to predetermined rules and guidelines.
Yet for all of Friedman’s strenuous logic and discipline, her approach remains unabashedly sensual and emotive. Bearing rich imagery and a strong emphasis on bodily experience, her films generate moments of high-pitched, cathartic intensity as well as serene, even euphoric interludes. In recent years, Friedman has increasingly explored the charged boundaries between the public and private spheres, working with musicians, dancers, actors, and other individuals selected through casting calls and auditions. These experimental collaborations dovetail with the artist’s longstanding endeavor to use her work as a means of engendering empathy while pounding on the walls that separate viewer from subject, artist from audience, self from other.
Dara Friedman studied at the Städelschule in Frankfurt, as well as at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, in London; University of Miami, School of Motion Pictures; and Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Most recently (2017-18) she mounted a mid-career survey exhibition Dara Friedman: Perfect Stranger at the Perez Art Museum Miami with a catalog raisonné distributed by Prestel. Solo exhibitions of her work have been presented at institutional venues including Aspen Art Museum (2017), Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2014); Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (2014); Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw (2013); Miami Art Museum (2012); Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh, North Carolina (2012); Public Art Fund, New York (2007); The Kitchen, New York (2005); Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland (2002); and SITE Santa Fe (2001). Her work has been included in group exhibitions at institutions including Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC (2013); MoMA PS 1, Long Island City, New York (2010); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2009 and 2002); Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (2009); and New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2002), among several others. Her work is included in institutional collections, including those of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Pérez Art Museum Miami; Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich; Institute for Contemporary Art, Miami; and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Friedman is the recipient of the Rome Prize (2000) and is represented by Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York; Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Los Angeles; and Galeria Franco Noero, Turin.