Ruth Noack

Biographical Information

Ruth Noack, born in 1964 in Heidelberg, is a curator and writer. She currently lives in Vienna with her children.

Noack studied feminist theory, audiovisual media and art in the United States and England. In 1999 she gained her degree in art history from the University of Vienna with a dissertation on a feminist topic (subjectification processes in the visual arts, exemplified by the early work of Lynn Hershman). By this time she had already started working as a translator, art critic and exhibition organizer. In all of her activities Noack has adopted an interdisciplinary approach that also incorporates film theory. In 2000 she took up her first university teaching appointment. From 2002 to 2003 she was president of the Austrian section of the AICA (International Association of Art Critics), and in 2006 and 2008 she was a member of the jury for the CCAA (Chinese Contemporary Art Award).

In the exhibition “Szenen einer Theorie” (Scenes of a Theory, 1995), Noack examined art and film as agents of theory development. In 2000, responding to right-wing populism in Austria, she focussed on the political role of aesthetic autonomy in the exhibition “Dinge, die wir nicht verstehen” (Things we don’t understand). A series of exhibitions under the heading of “Die Regierung/The Government” later dealt with issues of governmentality. (All of the above-mentioned exhibitions were conceived and realized in collaboration with Roger M. Buergel.)

From 2005 onwards Ruth Noack held the post of curator of documenta 12, which took place in 2007 in Kassel. In addition to its primary aim of creating an emancipated public, the exhibition focussed on the work of female artists (featuring Charlotte Posenenske, Martha Rosler and Mary Kelly, among others) and explored contemporary forms of global exhibition.

Noack’s numerous publications and lectures include monographs on the work of Eva Hesse, Alejandra Riera, Danica Dakic, Ines Doujak and Mary Kelly. In recent years she has become increasingly interested in issues related to globalization and exhibition-making, and is currently engaged in a research project on the concept of the translocal museum.

Exhibitions (selected)

  • “Burak Delier, Ines Doujak, Andreas Savva”, Action Field Kodra, Thessaloniki-Kalamaria (2008)
  • “documenta 12”, Kassel (2007)
  • “The Government – Be what you want, but stay where you are”, Witte de With, Rotterdam (2005) (*)
  • “The Government – Elysian Spheres of Action”, Secession, Vienna (2005) (*)
  • “The Government – How do we want to be governed? (Figure and Ground)”, Miami Art Central, Miami (2004) (*)
  • “The Government – Acts upon Acts”, Kunstraum der Universität Lüneburg (Art space of the University of Lüneburg) (2004) (*)
  • “The Government – The University is a Factory”, Kunstraum der Universität Lüneburg (Art space of the University of Lüneburg) (2004) (*)
  • “The Government – Opening Exhibition”, Kunstraum der Universität Lüneburg (Art space of the University of Lüneburg) (2003) (*)
  • “Formen der Organisation/Organisational Form”, Kunstraum der Universität Lüneburg (Art space of the University of Lüneburg), gallery of the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst (HGB), Leipzig, Galerija Škuc, Ljubljana (2001 – 2003) (*)
  • “Dinge, die wir nicht verstehen”, Generali Foundation, Vienna (2000) (*)
(*) co-curated by Roger M. Buergel

Ruth Noack 2009, Copyright: Marianne Menke
Ruth Noack
Curator and writer, Vienna

Contemporary art
Interdisciplinary projects
Culture and knowledge production
Art education and mediation

Ruth Noack