Critics’ Picks

Andrea Fraser, Collected: The Lady Wallace’s Inventory, 1997, twenty-five texts, dimensions variable.


Andrea Fraser

Museum der Moderne Salzburg | Mönchsberg
Mönchsberg 32
March 21–July 5, 2015

Andrea Fraser’s current survey demonstrates just how light-footed and witty institutional critique can be, without forfeiting its edge. Fraser’s multifaceted works from the past thirty years are presented in a richly varied installation. In her videos, one sees the artist as a gifted actress in the most diverse roles—all of which cut to her proverbial body. In Little Frank and His Carp, 2001, for instance, we see her rub up against the architecture of the Guggenheim Bilbao, as directed by the bizarre text of an audio guide, astonishing the other visitors. In May I Help You?, 1991, she takes the rhetoric of contemporary art as her theme. We see performers acting as the staff of American Fine Arts, Co., in New York, overseeing an exhibition of Allan McCollum’s “Plaster Surrogates.” They begin to speak as soon as visitors enter the space—sometimes from the standpoint of an insider art connoisseur, other times from the perspective of a person who feels excluded from the goings-on of the art world.

The high point of the show is the rarely exhibited work Collected: The Lady Wallace’s Inventory, 1997, which gathers twenty-five text works on paper wherein the artist takes up the inclusionary and exclusionary mechanisms of a private London art collection by listing all the objects that are not on display, remaining unnoticed in the archive. With this work Fraser pays tribute to previous Conceptualists on the level of content and form alike.

Translated from German by Diana Reese.