New Works by Andrea Fraser, Vanessa Place
Andrea Fraser’s work engages the institution of art and its interface with other social fields; Vanessa Place’s work interrogates notions of criminality and poetry. Language and sound figure into both of their practices as key investigative tools. Working from the disciplines of art and writing, respectively, both employ existing tracts of text and reposition them in the context of art and performance. AV presents new works by each artist in two sound installations in the Schindler House. Both works prompt the visitor to reflect on absence, presence, power, individuality, inequity, freedom, privilege, subjection and subjectification.
In the Chace wing of the house, Andrea Fraser installed Tehachapi at Kings Road, an eight-channel audio installation combining field recordings with live audio fed through prison acoustic model. The audio included recordings made by Fraser and Scott Benzel at the California Correctional Institution, Tehachapi, April 1, 2014, with additional audio from footage recorded by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation at five different state prisons. The graph stationed in the Nursery, Index II, juxtaposed data on prison populations, income distribution, the art market, and museum and prison construction. In this installation, Fraser attempted to activate some of the structural relations between museums and prisons as the bookend institutions of increasingly polarized neoliberal social space.
In the Schindler wing of the house, Vanessa Place installed Last Words, a recording in the artist’s voice of the last statements of all the inmates executed in Texas as recorded by the state since 1982. Although this was the debut installation of the work, Last Words is an ongoing archival piece, as the executions are slated to continue indefinitely. The statements are published on the Texas Department of Corrections website and updated monthly. The current iteration of the work contains the statements of 510 inmates condemned to death, and will be updated as new statements become available. Inmates who refused to make a statement are represented by 5 seconds of silence. In this work, the sentence of death was performed through the final sentences by the condemned.
Major projects by Andrea Fraser include installations, performances, and surveys for an array of international museums, including the Kunstverein Munich; the Venice Biennale (Austrian Pavilion); the Whitney Biennial; the Generali Foundation, Vienna; the Kunsthalle Bern; the Bienal de São Paulo; Tate Modern; the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford; the Museum of Modern Art, Vienna; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia; the Kunstverein Hamburg; the Carpenter Center, Harvard University; and the Ludwig Museum, Cologne. Her books include Andrea Fraser: Works 1984-2003, Dumont, 2003; Museum Highlights: The Writings of Andrea Fraser, MIT Press, 2005; and Texts, Scripts, Transcripts, Museum Ludwig, 2013. Fraser is a professor of New Genres at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The Boston Review called Vanessa Place “the spokesperson for the new cynical avant-garde,” the Huffington Post characterized her work as “ethically odious,” while philosopher and critic Avital Ronell said she is “a leading voice in contemporary thought.” Vanessa Place was the first poet to perform as part of the Whitney Biennial; a content advisory was posted. Other exhibition work has appeared at Denver Museum of Contemporary Art; the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art; The Power Plant, Toronto; the Broad Museum, East Lansing; and Cage 83 Gallery, New York. Selected recent performance venues include Museum of Modern Art, New York; Detroit Museum of Contemporary Art; Andre Bely Center, St. Petersburg, Russia; Kunstverein, Cologne; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Frye Art Gallery, Seattle; the Sorbonne; and De Young Museum, San Francisco. Recent books include Boycott; Statement of Facts; Notes on Conceptualisms, co-authored with Robert Fitterman, and her translation of Guantanamo, by French poet Frank Smith. Place also works as a critic and criminal defense attorney, and is CEO of VanessaPlace Inc, the world’s first poetry corporation.
Photograph by Sandra Peters