Artist: Andrea Fraser
Venue: Museum der Moderne, Salzburg
Date: March 21 – July 5, 2015
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Museum der Moderne, Salzburg
The Museum der Moderne Salzburg is proud to be the first institution in Austria to present a comprehensive survey of the work of the American artist Andrea Fraser. Born in Billings, Montana, in 1965, Fraser moved to New York in 1981; since 2006 she has resided in Los Angeles, where she is Professor of New Genres at UCLA. With pioneering works that have sometimes provoked controversial debates, Fraser arguably ranks among the most radical and influential artists of her generation. “Combining intellectual acumen with lively humor, her works are a unique and indispensible contribution to contemporary art. This broad-based retrospective of her oeuvre reveals the richness and diversity of Andrea Fraser’s art as well as its radicalism and rigor,” notes Sabine Breitwieser, director of the Museum der Moderne Salzburg and curator of the exhibition. Showcasing approximately one hundred works in media ranging from prints, photography, and performance to video, installation, and text works, the exhibition is not only an Austrian première but also the most comprehensive survey of Fraser’s work to date.
Fraser appeared as a critical protagonist and commentator on the art field when she was still quite young in the mid-1980s, developing her critical stance in writings and performances as well as initiating and being active in groups such as The V-Girls. Showing internationally since the early 1990s, Andrea Fraser has had a particularly significant presence in Austria. She was one of three artistic Stellvertreter Representatives Rappresentanti in the Austrian pavilion at the 45th Venice Biennial in 1993. Her Project in two phases for the Generali Foundation in Vienna (1994–95), also organized by Breitwieser, examined the function of art for a corporation as well as her own artistic autonomy and remains highly relevant to current debates on public museums and private collections.
Andrea Fraser investigates the motivations of institutional and individual participants in the art field, including artists themselves. She analyses what we want from art and her own role with questions like: What do I, as an artist, provide? What do I satisfy? Often appearing as the protagonist in her psycho-social analyses of the art world, Fraser invites the audience’s projections. The various roles into which she slips and the ways she involves others in her projects let us see art from new perspectives. Her sophisticated, provocative, and humorous productions combine her impressive talent for theatricality and role-playing with canny critical analysis. She asks questions of herself and others that challenge and charm us to look at our own roles in new ways.
Fraser has always regarded making art as a wide field of practice that encompasses the intellectual and experiential; research, reflection and action. Her approach is informed by earlier generations of critical conceptualists and feminist artists who worked to reconnect art with the personal and the political. Taking inspiration from the “reflexive sociology” of the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1930–2002) and from psychoanalytic approaches to “here and now” analysis, she scrutinizes the art world’s psychological and social as well as institutional and economic structures.
Conceived as a mid-career retrospective covering three decades of work, the exhibition at the Museum der Moderne Salzburg captures both the long-term development and the current stage of Fraser’s continually evolving approach. The show was designed in close collaboration with the artist and is organized in several thematic sections. It opens with early works such as Woman 1/Madonna and Child (1984), Four Posters (1984), and Damaged Goods Gallery Talk Starts Here (1986), followed by works in which she developed her critical engagement with the museum in performances such as Museum Highlights (1989) and Welcome to the Wadsworth (1991). A section focusing on “Projects and Initiatives” features the provocative projects in which Fraser addressed art as a service—the Preliminary Prospectuses (1993) and Services (1994, with Helmut Draxler)—as well as her Project in two phases (1994–1995) with the Generali Foundation.
Another group of works organized around the theme of “Class, Taste, and Collecting” includes the seminal May I Help You?, which is on view in three versions dating from 1991, 2005, and 2011; the artist will perform it live on June 14. A section of the exhibition devoted to “Globalization and Tourism,” another set of issues Fraser explored early on, features her audio installation for the exhibition Stellvertreter Representatives Rappresentanti in the Austrian pavilion during the 45th Biennale di Venezia (1993), the 82-part cycle of photographs White People in West Africa (1993) and her video and performance work for inSITE97 and the São Paulo biennial. In 2001, Fraser’s focus turned to the figure of the artist, with works such as Kunst muss hängen (Art must hang, 2001), Official Welcome (2001/2003), Soldadera (1998/2002), and Projection (2008), and she returned to issues of collecting with renewed radicalism in Untitled (2003) and her influential text “L’1% C’est Moi” (2011). The exhibition also includes examples of Fraser’s most recent work such as Men on the Line (2012/2014) and features the European première (on video) of the performance Not just a few of us (2014). Two more works by the artist will be included in the concurrent exhibition of art from the collection Which Life?, which will be on display in the Museum am Mönchsberg’s second-floor galleries starting April 25.
Curators: Sabine Breitwieser, Director, and Tina Teufel, Curator, Museum der Moderne Salzburg
Exhibition design: Kuehn Malvezzi (Wilfried Kuehn, Samuel Korn)