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.