Andrea Fraser, born in 1965 in Billings, Montana/USA. She studied from 1982-83 at the School of Visual Arts, New York and in 1986 at New York University. From 1984-86 she attended the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program. She has taught at numerous international institutions and lives in New York and Rio de Janeiro.
Fraser’s artistic approach can be placed in the traditions of feminist performance art and institutional critique. In her works she analyzes the functions of both art and art institutions from sociological, psychoanalytical, and feminist perspectives. Art institutions are perceived as places of concealed social conflict, which Fraser uncovers in her work. In 1986 she made her debut in the persona of the art mediator Jane Castleton with "Damaged Goods Gallery Talk Starts Here", her contribution to the exhibition "Damaged Goods" at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. In this and other museum tour performances she explored the history, function, and practice of art institutions and the role of an unpaid female trainee. In "May I Help You?" (1991), with Allan McCollum, Fraser stayed in the background, directing performers to deliver her script instead. In subsequent audio works presented as part of the Whitney Biennial, New York, and in her contribution to the Austrian pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia in 1993, she focused her attention on the discourses of curators, commissioners, and visitors as sites of conflict relating to cultural dominance. Fraser’s approach shifted increasingly from live performance toward the performance of often invisible functions within institutions. She concentrated particularly on relations between organizations, their publics, and constituencies, and in 1993 she produced four "Preliminary Prospectuses", in which she offered a series of "artistic services." The first application of this institutional analysis came with her work entitled "A Project in Two Phases" (1994-95) at the Generali Foundation. In 2001, Fraser began to move towards the center of the stage again in a series of performances and video installations. (Monika Vykoukal)