Art

A still from Fraser's Untitled (2003)
photo: Courtesy Friedrich Petzel Gallery
A still from Fraser's Untitled (2003)

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Andrea Fraser
Friedrich Petzel Gallery
535 West 22nd Street
Through July 9

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When MOMA organized "Museum as Muse: Artists Reflect" in 1999, any teeth left in the practice known as institutional critique were knocked out—welcome to the Big House. Leave it to Andrea Fraser to bite that same art world on its ass by literally selling herself out. Her video featuring herself having sex with a collector (an unedited hour-long document) has had tongues wagging for weeks, but the only thing scandalous about it is that she arranged the action as a commissioned work. For that reason alone, it's a must-see piece, but don't expect to be titillated. A silent, single-channel video shot with a stationary camera and presented on a small monitor, it features no close-ups, grunts, or moans, only a mutually beneficial transaction. And both participants do appear to enjoy it. They pet each other, she blows him, and the unhurried sex is followed by chitchat in their hotel bed. While the collector remains nameless, those who know him will certainly recognize his face. A sardonic play on Baudelaire's artist as prostitute, yes, but it's more about Hobbesian notions of the social contract, the art of the deal, and of course, 20 grand, which is what Fraser got paid.

 
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