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Museum Highlights: A Gallery Talk

A work made of single-channel video, color, sound; 29 min..
© 1989 Andrea Fraser

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  • A work made of single-channel video, color, sound; 29 min..




Andrea Fraser
American, born 1965

About this artwork

Andrea Fraser is a performance and video artist who has been regarded primarily as a pioneer of “institutional critique,” since she structures her work around existing museum practices and protocols such as gallery talks and welcome speeches. Although they often begin rationally, her performances progressively unravel, frequently devolving into discussion of eccentric topics or performances of taboo behaviors. Spanning more than a decade, the five works in the Art Institute’s collection are among Fraser’s earliest and most influential creations.
Museum Highlights: A Gallery Talk documents Fraser’s use of an invented persona—a formally attired, uptight docent named Jane Castleton—to present a social history of the art museum that focuses, as one scholar described it, on the “relationships between class and taste, private philanthropy and public policy.”[1] The work was the first of its kind and remains a landmark in the recent history of performance art.

[1]Yilmaz Dziewior, Andrea Fraser: Works, 1984 to 2003, exh. cat. (Dumont/D.A.P., 2003), p. 13. For more on Fraser, see Yilmaz Dziewior and Andrea Fraser, Andrea Fraser (DuMont, 2002); and Andrea Fraser and Alexander Alberro, Museum Highlights: The Writings of Andrea Fraser (MIT Press, 2007). — Entry, Film, Video, New Media, Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 35 (1), pp. 98–99.


Currently Off View


Contemporary Art


Andrea Fraser


Museum Highlights: A Gallery Talk


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Single-channel video, color, sound; 29 min.

Credit Line

Contemporary Art Discretionary Fund; purchased with funds provided by James Cahn and Jeremiah Collatz

Reference Number



© 1989 Andrea Fraser

Extended information about this artwork

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