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.
May I Help You?, the only piece among the five Art Institute works not performed by Fraser, features a monologue delivered by a commercial gallery director to visitors at an exhibition of the artist Allan McCollum’s Plaster Surrogates (1982/90). In attempting to describe the display, the speaker projects a range of class fantasies and anxieties onto these essentially blank works, her speech eventually slipping into a self-revealing, contradictory message.
- Currently Off View
- Contemporary Art
- Andrea Fraser
- May I Help You? (in cooperation with Allan McCollum)
- United States
- Color video, sound; 19 min. loop
- Contemporary Art Discretionary Fund; restricted gift of James Cahn and Jeremiah Collatz
- © 1991 Andrea Fraser