May I help you?

© Generali Foundation Collection—Permanent Loan to the Museum der Moderne Salzburg

Andrea Fraser

May I help you?, 1991

Video, color, sound, 20 min Director, script: Andrea Fraser Performer: Ledlie Borgerhoff Photography: Merril Aldigheri Produced by: Andrea Fraser, American Fine Arts Co., New York


Artwork text

A videotape based on the performance May I Help You? which was created in 1991 for the commercial art gallery American Fine Arts, Co. in New York City, looks at the ways in which art functions to legitimize social differences. The three gallery staff-members overseeing an exhibition of Allan McCollum’s Plaster Surrogates are actually performers directed by Fraser to deliver a 20-minute monologue to everyone who comes in to see the show. The script, written by Fraser, moves through six different voices representing six different social positions—from a connoisseur to a person who feels herself to be excluded by museums and galleries. With each voice, the performer articulates her particular relationship to the almost identical art works, affirming her own position while negating the positions of the voices preceding or following her own. (Andrea Fraser)