May I Help You? (in cooperation with Allan McCollum)

Date:

1991

Artist:

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.

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

Artist

Andrea Fraser

Title

May I Help You? (in cooperation with Allan McCollum)

Origin

United States

Date

1991

Medium

Color video, sound; 19 min. loop

Credit Line

Contemporary Art Discretionary Fund; restricted gift of James Cahn and Jeremiah Collatz

Reference Number

2008.83

Copyright

© 1991 Andrea Fraser

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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