Frank Wagner studied Art History and Philosophy and lives and works as an independent curator and writer in Berlin. In 2014 he was the Curator (artistic director) of the 6th European Month of Photography Berlin (MdF), the largest German photo festival and curated the central exhibition of the festival at the Martin-Gropius-Bau: MemoryLab: The Sentimental Turn. Photography challenges History. He is currently preparing a show for Dubai about photography in Germany in the 20th and 21st century (opening March 16, 2016) and has just presented a queer Vienna based sculptor at Neue Gesellschaft fuer Bildende Kunst Berlin (Toni Schmale SUPEREGO, 2015—16, co-curated with Christin Lahr).
He has curated numerous international exhibitions, including the retrospective Alfredo Jaar—The way it is. An Aesthetics of Resistance in three locations in Berlin: the Alte Nationalgalerie, the Berlinische Galerie and in the neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK), 2012. He was also responsible (concept and materialization) for the retrospectives of Felix Gonzalez-Torres at the Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof—Museum for Contemporary Art, Berlin, 2006) and VALIE EXPORT (together with Dr Hildtrud Ebert) at the Akademie der Künste Berlin (Academy of Arts, Berlin) 2003. He has also designed many other exhibits, including the seminal show The Eighth Square: Gender, Life and Desire in Art Since 1960 about gender and desire at the Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2006, including 82 artists on all levels of the museum, spanning 3500 sqm)—which was the first queer show in a German museum—and Gewoon anders / Just Different, at the Cobra Museum, Amsterdam/Amstelveen (2008).
In 2013–14 he conceived a set of sequential exhibitions: LOVE AIDS RIOT SEX, which focused on the topic of AIDS and Art since 1985 until the presence within three exhibitions stringed together and overlaid in Berlin. Already back in 1988 he put together the exhibit Vollbild AIDS—Eine Kunstausstellung über Leben und Sterben. Full-Blown Image AIDS. An exhibit about Life and Death for the nGbK, a show which turned out to be the first one of its kind in Europe.
Already in 1987 he has been the curator of a groundbreaking historical show about aesthetical fascination in the Third Reich concerning art, architecture, mass demonstrations, and sculpture. The exhibition Inszenierung der Macht—The Staging of Power (1987) was a controversial landmark. The catalogue that he edited (together with Klaus Behnken) has the status of a standard reference book in Germany (it is out of print and considered a rare book).
Within the last thirty years he worked with Hanne Darboven (1988), General Idea (1988), David Wojnarowicz (1990), Group Material (1990), Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1990), Barbara Kruger (1991), Ida Applebroog (1992), Marlene McCarty (1992), Alfredo Jaar (1992), Jeff Wall (1994), Ken Lum (1995), Marlene Dumas (1995), Lovett/Codagnone (1996), Vera Frenkel (1997), Rineke Dijkstra (1998), Elmgreen & Dragset (1999), Julie Ault/Martin Beck (2000), Ron Athey (2000), Katharina Sieverding (2001), Stan Douglas (2001), Sanja Ivekovic (1994), Wolfgang Tillmans (1997), Valie Export (1994), Dorothy Cross (2003), Yoko Ono (2003), Julie Tolentino (2004), Thomas Meinecke (2006), Eran Schaerf (2006), Dayanita Singh (2006), Ei Arakawa (2007), Klaus Mettig (2008 and 2010), Robert Gober (2009), Elmgreen & Dragset (1999/ 2014), Nan Goldin (1994), Broomberg & Chanarin (2014) and many others.
He curated exhibitions about the late artists Mark Morrisroe (1997), General Idea (1998), Hannah Wilke (2000) or Ull Hohn (2001) and a lot of large scale thematically based group shows like Tableaux du Sida (Berne, Lausanne, 1990/91) Violence/Business (Berlin, 1994), Family Nation Tribe Community Shift. (Berlin 1996), Les Mondes du Sida—Entre résignation et espoire (Geneva, 1998), Contemporary Utopia (Riga, Latvia, 2001), Chironex Fleckeri or Suspended Moments (Mulholland Drive) (Berlin, 2003), Amerikana (Berlin 2009–10).