ATC Lecture — Andrew & Deborah Rappaport, “Designing Spatiality for New Media Art”

Rob Carter  British/American, b. 1976, Worcester, England  Culte, 2010  Two-channel HD video projection, ed. 2/5  9:19 minutes     On View in the Rappaport’s San Francisco media-art room.

Rob Carter, 2010.
On View in the Rappaport’s San Francisco media-art room.


Collecting and exhibiting new media art poses particular challenges for private collectors. Among other questions, every acquisition must address the following:


* Is it possible to honor and adhere to the artist’s vision outside of an institutional context?
* Is it practical to integrate the work into a home environment while still living in the house?
* Is it feasible to manage conservation and combat obsolescence without the resources of an institutional staff?


Andy and Deborah Rappaport have been addressing these questions themselves, with the artists they collect, and with galleries and institutions they have patronized as they have assembled their collection, designed their home, and explored the relationship between works they collect and those they acquire on behalf of institutions with dedicated exhibition locations.


This talk will be built around a series of provocative questions the Rappaports have faced, each illustrated with a detailed anecdote about their path to collecting technology-based art, the purpose of their collecting, the design and engineering lengths they have gone to accommodate the private display works, and the complex and sometimes surprising process of adhering to the artist’s intent in the domestic context. Through decades of experience, they’ve developed protocols for conservation and maintenance of works, the apparatus and media that comprise them, and the implementation of new mechanisms for supporting institutional acquisition of works that are inappropriate for private display.


Andy and Deborah Rappaport founded the Minnesota Street Project in 2014 to provide sustainably below-market rents and other needed services to artists, gallerists, and other professionals in San Francisco arts community. The Minnesota Street Project now comprises more than 100,000 square feet of gallery and studio space, as well as an innovative Art Storage and Services business that embodies lessons from the Rappaports’ own experiences as collectors. Andy and Deborah have been collecting contemporary art for nearly 40 years; for the past 20 years, their collection has centered principally on works that make some social or political statement and/or explore how artists can use new technology to enhance and extend their means of expression. Andy started his career as an electrical engineer and ended it with 20 years in venture capital; Deborah has created and been integral to the leadership and governance of numerous local and national political and cultural non-profits.



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Berkeley’s Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium is an internationally recognized forum for presenting new ideas that challenge conventional wisdom about art, technology, and culture. This series, free of charge and open to the public, presents artists, writers, curators, and scholars who consider contemporary issues at the intersection of aesthetic expression, emerging technologies, and cultural history, from a critical perspective.