Inspired by the innumerable times he says he has been called “bad fan,” “not a real fan,” and “fake fan,” The Bad Fan Museum is a sprawling installation of objects from the ever-shifting borderlands where Japanese and American fan culture have intertwined over the past decades. Contained in a Japanese classroom in Topkyo, this micro-museum is comprised of a heterogeneous mix of intimate ephemera from the history of anime, manga, video games, street fashion, and cosplay. Intermingled with these historical objects is an collection of previously private tests, proofs, sketches, and works-in-progress from Rauch’s extensive series of art projects that have explored the many facets of modern fandom.
Visitors are free to handle, rearrange, and even contribute items to a multifaceted array of objects and artworks that hint at a few of the many personal histories of fandom. This portable museum presents the specifics of my often-conflicted personal history as a means to try to build some context around the many competing claims of authenticity, history, legitimacy, and identity that fandom and the fine arts use to differentiate themselves. The Bad Fan Museum leverages the trio of travel, conversation, and personal history to create a third space from which to contemplate an interconnected view of both the past and future of fandom and art.