Since the 1980s Andrea Fraser has achieved renown for performances that interrogate social structures with humor and pathos, aligning herself with feminism and institutional critique. While Fraser’s video and performance works are often associated with investigations of art institutions, her performances since the early 2000s evidence a turn toward analyzing the intersection between sociopolitical and psychological structures as they produce individual and group identity. Representative of this turn is Men on the Line: Men Committed to Feminism, KPFK, 1972 (2012), a video installation that will be on view at the Hammer. For this work Fraser created a script from a little-known Pacifica Radio archival recording of four men articulating their affinities with and support for feminism and women’s rights. Fraser presents this group discussion in a solo performance, adopting mimetic gestures and "masculine" clothing that complicate the institution of gender. Owing to the subtlety of her performance, Fraser displays an affective investment in the anxious exchanges of these male feminists. By embodying the men's struggles with feminism and masculinity, Fraser's sobering reperformance serves as a model for how socially defined identities might forgo their gendered positions so as to enact a politics of care and empathy.
In conjunction with the video installation, the Hammer will premiere a new performance by Fraser in the museum's Billy Wilder Theater exploring the political and cultural polarization of American society.
The Hammer currently owns six of Fraser’s single-channel video works as part of the Hammer Contemporary Collection. Coinciding with the exhibition is the release of Andrea Fraser: Collected Interviews, 1990–2018, a publication coedited by the art historian Rhea Anastas and artists Alejandro Cesarco and Andrea Fraser, and published by A.R.T. Press and Koenig Books, London. The publication presents the artist’s voice in dialogue with interlocutors ranging from professional peers to journalists from the popular media and contextualizes Fraser’s practice in the artistic, institutional, and discursive fields in which she intervenes.
Hammer Projects: Andrea Fraser is organized by Connie Butler, chief curator, with Ikechukwu Onyewuenyi, curatorial assistant.
Andrea Fraser (b. 1965, Billings, MT) lives and works in Los Angeles, where she is department chair and professor in the UCLA Department of Art. Her work has been the subject of major retrospectives at Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (2016); Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City (2016); Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Austria (2015); and Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2013). Other solo exhibitions of note include those presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2016); MAK Center at the Schindler House, Los Angeles (2014); and Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (2010), among others. Fraser has performed at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2017, 2012, 2010); Volksbühne Berlin (2014); Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2013); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2012); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2010); and Centre Pompidou, Paris (2009), among others. She participated in SiteLines, Santa Fe (2018); Prospect.3 New Orleans (2014); and Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2012, 1993). Fraser was the recipient of a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant (2017); the 2016 Oskar Kokoschka Prize, awarded by the Austrian Bundesministerium für Wissenschaft und Forschung; and the 2013 Wolfgang Hahn Prize, awarded by the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst am Museum Ludwig, Cologne. Her most recent book, 2016 in Museums, Money, and Politics, appeared in 2018.
Hammer Projects is presented in memory of Tom Slaughter and with support from the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.
Lead funding is provided by Hope Warschaw and John Law and by the Hammer Collective. Generous support is also provided by Susan Bay Nimoy and Leonard Nimoy, with additional support from Good Works Foundation and Laura Donnelley, and the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.
Hammer Projects: Andrea Fraser is supported by The Kaleta A. Doolin Foundation and Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts.