|Born||1965 (age 47–48)
Billings, Montana, United States
Andrea Fraser (born 1965) is a New York-based performance artist, mainly known for her work in the area of institutional critique. She is currently a member of the Art Department faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Fraser was born in Billings, Montana. Her brand of performance during the 1990s popularized the institutional critique art movement, a loosely-formed artistic practice meant to critique the very institutions that are involved in the sale, display, and commerce of art. Fraser's work typically comments on the politics, commerce, histories, and even the self-assuredness of the modern-day art museum, including the hierarchies and the exclusion mechanisms of art as an enterprise. Her performances, despite having serious undertones, are often presented in a humorous, ridiculous, or satirical manner.
Arguably Fraser's most famous performance, Museum Highlights (1989) involved Fraser posing as a Museum tour guide at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1989 under the pseudonym of Jane Castleton. During the performance, Fraser led a tour through the museum describing it in verbose and overly dramatic terms to her chagrined tour group. For example, in describing a common water fountain Fraser proclaims "a work of astonishing economy and monumentality ... it boldly contrasts with the severe and highly stylized productions of this form!" Upon entering the museum cafeteria: "This room represents the heyday of colonial art in Philadelphia on the eve of the Revolution, and must be regarded as one of the very finest of all American rooms."
In Kunst muss hängen (Art Must Hang) (Galerie Christian Nagel / Cologne, 2001) - featured in Make Your Own Life: Artists In & Out of Cologne - Fraser reenacted an impromptu 1995 speech by a drunk Martin Kippenberger, word-by-word, gesture-for-gesture.
For Official Welcome (2001) - commissioned by the MICA Foundation for a private reception - Fraser mimicked "the banal comments and effusive words of praise uttered by presenters and recipients during art-awards ceremonies. Midstream, assuming the persona of a troubled, postfeminist art star, Fraser strips down, [...] to a Gucci thong, bra and high-heel shoes, and says, I'm not a person today. I'm an object in an art work."
In her videotape performance Untitled (2003), Fraser recorded a hotel-room sexual encounter with a private collector, who had paid close to $20,000 to participate, "not for sex, according to the artist, but to make an artwork." Actually, according to Andrea Fraser, the amount that the collector had paid her has not been disclosed, and the "$20,000" figure is way off the mark. Only 5 copies of the 60-minute DVD were produced, 3 of which are in private collections, 1 being that of the collector with whom she had had the sexual encounter; he had pre-purchased the performance piece in which he was a vital participant.
Her videotape performance Little Frank and His Carp (2001) targets architectural dominance of modern gallery spaces. Using the original soundtrack of an acoustic guide at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, she "... writhes with pleasure as the recorded voice draws attention to the undulating curves and textured surfaces of the surrounding space" which she takes literally in an "erotic encounter".
Exhibitions and collections
Fraser's work has been shown in public galleries including the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1989); the Kunstverein München, (Germany, 1993, 1994); the Venice Biennale (Italy, 1993); the Sprengel Museum (Hannover, Germany, 1998); the Kunstverein Hamburg (Germany, 2003); the Whitechapel Art Gallery (London, England, 2003); the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (2005); the Frans Hals Museum (Haarlem, The Netherlands, 2007); and the Centre Pompidou (Paris, 2009).
She presented a lecture as part of the "Art and the Right to Believe" lecture series through the Visiting Artists Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in February, 2009.
- Fraser, Andrea (2005). Museum Highlights. Massachusetts: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-06244-5.
- Pollack, Barbara (July 2002). "Baring the truth". Art in America. ISSN 0004-3214. Retrieved 2009-05-12.[dead link]
- Saltz, Jerry. "Critiqueus interruptus". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2009-05-12.
- Trebay, Guy (2004-06-13). "Sex, Art and Videotape". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2010-10-25. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
- Dimitrikaki, Angela (July 2011 vol. 28 pp.5-15). "Labour, Ethics, Sex and Capital On Biopolitical Production in Contemporary Art On Biopolitical Production in Contemporary Art". n.paradoxa:international feminist art journal.
- Andrea Fraser at Galerie Christian Nagel
- Andrea Fraser at Friedrich Petzel Gallery
- New York Time Article on Andrea Fraser