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

A work made of color video, sound; 19 min. loop.
© 1991 Andrea Fraser

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  • A work made of color video, sound; 19 min. loop.




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


Andrea Fraser


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


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.



Color video, sound; 19 min. loop

Credit Line

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

Reference Number



© 1991 Andrea Fraser

Extended information about this artwork

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