Dieter Froese

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Dieter Froese was one of the first video installation artists, though he also worked in painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, performance and film. More than 30 years ago, he was a prominent member of the first generation of artists who lived and worked in the bare lofts of Lower Manhattan. His multimedia works, shown at the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, as well as across Europe and the United States, were drawn in part from his experience as a child of war. Hans-Dietrich Froese was born on October 9, 1937, in the now-vanished state of East Prussia, the son of a prosperous cheesemaker, outside the town of Tilsit, which is now Sovetsk in western Russia. In the closing months of World War II, he fled with his mother through rubble and ruination, watched Berlin fall to the Red Army from a forest outside the city and finally found shelter with relatives outside Nuremberg. A Ford Foundation grant brought him to the United States in 1964; he became a permanent resident in 1969. Within five years he was a leading early member of the artist-led independent gallery movement, with notable exhibitions including "Ideas at the Idea Warehouse" in 1975 and the first exhibition ever held at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in 1976. With Kay Hines, whom he married in 1979, Mr. Froese founded Dekart Video, which over the last quarter-century produced videos for public television, leading museums and institutions from the Smithsonian to the rock 'n' roll band R.E.M. A characteristic work "Imprecise Details ó Not a Model for Big Brother's Spy Cycle" was exhibited at International Center of Photography in New York in 1990 and in the Stadtisches Kunstmuseum in Bonn in 1988. It created a theater of fear, playing on themes of video surveillance that reached back to the Cold War and forward to the 21st century. - excerpted from NY Times, July 4, 2006