America Is Hard to See

Solo en Inglès

This audio guide highlights selected works by artists in America Is Hard to See. Curators, scholars, and artists provide additional commentary.

5432Fred Wilson, Guarded View, 1991


Fred Wilson (b. 1954), Guarded View, 1991. Wood, paint, steel and fabric, dimensions variable. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of the Peter Norton Family Foundation 97.84a-d © Fred Wilson

FRED WILSON: I was invited by the Museum to give a tour of the exhibitions that they had on at that moment. I told them that I wasn't a scholar. But I went to visit the Museum and I realized there were things I had to say about it. And they thought that was a great idea. so, I had lunch with the staff in the Museum, and then I said, "Okay, excuse me. I'm going to change into my costume and I'm going to meet you in the galleries by the sign that says "Fred Wilson speaks at 2 pm."

I changed into a guard's uniform and stood by my sign. And then a few minutes later, they all came downstairs and stood around in front of me waiting for me to show up. Literally, just, you know, just sort of relaxing, waiting for me to show up, right in front of me. And then, I said, "Well, okay, let's get this thing going." And, of course, the people that I'd known for a long time, were embarrassed. 

And this group followed me around. Of course, this was kind of interesting for the public to see a guard speaking in art historical terms and critiquing the exhibition. And then the guards came off their station to hear me do this, and every once in a while, they'd say things like, "I always wanted to say that about that artwork, you know.”