Mircea Cantor, Sic Transit, Gloria Mundi, 2012. Single-channel HD video with audio. Joseph Beuys, Capri-Batterie (Capri-Battery), 1985. Lightbulb with plug socket plugged into lemon; multiple. Installation at Kramlich Residence, Napa Valley, California. Photograph by artist Catherine Wagner, part of a commissioned series for the forthcoming book on the Kramlich Residence and Collection.
With the acquisition of their first video artwork in 1987 - The Way Things Go (1987) by Peter Fischli and David Weiss, following its presentation at Documenta 8 in Kassel the same year - Pamela and Richard Kramlich established themselves as early collectors of artists central to the field of media art and its ongoing development.
Artworks in the Kramlich Collection include a diverse range of media including video, film, slide, photography, performance, painting, sculpture, and drawing. However, with over half of the Collection dedicated to what is frequently described as “time-based” media artworks, it is the groundbreaking use of audiovisual technology and performance by contemporary artists since the 1960s that has been the particular focus of the Kramlich Collection. Many of the artworks are presented as large-scale audiovisual installations, incorporating projections, synchronized audio, and multi-screen displays, crossing the spectrum of analog and digital formats.
The geographic and thematic scope of the Collection - artists are represented from a diverse range of North American, European and Asian countries - together with its ongoing acquisition, loan, and activity programme remain central to the continuing mission of the Kramlich Collection. While many artists use technology to create and display their artworks, the Kramlichs have felt that technology is simply a means for artists to create experiences that convey ideas, reflections, and questions that are key to the moral, aesthetic, and educational imperatives of art within our lives and societies.
The Kramlich Collection includes major installations by artists such as Marina Abramovic, Doug Aitken, Matthew Barney, James Benning, Dara Birnbaum, Marcel Broodthaers, Janet Cardiff, James Coleman, Tacita Dean, Stan Douglas, Shilpa Gupta, Pierre Huyghe, Joan Jonas, Isaac Julien, William Kentridge, Steve McQueen, Nalini Malani, Christian Marclay, Richard Mosse, Bruce Nauman, Shirin Neshat, Nam June Paik, Sun Xun, Tabaimo, Ryan Trecartin, Jeff Wall, Jane and Louise Wilson, Yang Fudong, and Bill Viola. See complete list of artists.
In 1997, as part of a mission to further enhance the international visibility, awareness, and future legacy of media artworks, the Kramlichs established the New Art Trust as a non-profit organization, in partnership with three founding museums: the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, and Tate in UK.
Over the last twenty years, the New Art Trust has funded research into best-practices for the conservation, display and storage of media artworks, in particular through the collaborative research project Matters in Media Art which provides important practical information on the acquisition, loan, documentation, and digital preservation of media art.
In 2016, the Kramlichs launched the New Art Trust Acquisition Fund to assist SFMOMA, MoMA and Tate co-acquire important bodies of media artworks. The first initiative resulted in the acquisition in 2016 of four major film artworks by Bruce Conner by SFMOMA and MoMA to coincide with the major Conner retrospective presented at SFMOMA, MoMA, and the Museu Reina Sofia in Madrid.
To date, the Kramlichs have made promised gifts of over 30 major media artwork installations to benefit the collections and public activities of SFMOMA, MoMA and Tate. The Kramlich Collection continues to work closely with these and other museums on developing existing and new collaborative research and exhibition projects.
The Kramlich Collection has an active international loan program and works closely with major museums and cultural venues to present media artworks for monographic, thematic, or collection-based exhibitions.