Little Frank and his carp

Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, 2001

2001. Video grabado con cámaras ocultas. Museo Guggenheim Bilbao

Un video de Andrea Fraser grabado con cámaras ocultas en el Bilbao Guggenheim Museoa, con la banda sónora oficial de los audioguías del museo en voz en off.

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Intrahistorias del proyecto

Little Frank and his carp


Andrea Fraser Works: 1984 to 2003
Catalogue edited by Yilmaz Dziewior and published by Dumont Literatur, 2003

Yilmaz Dziewior and Dumont Literatur

Shot with hidden cameras in the Guggenheim Bilbao, Little Frank and His Carp is based on an unathorized intervention in the museum designed by Frank Gehry (the “Little Frank” of the video´s title). A tourist is seen entering the museum and renting an audio-guide, which is heard as a voice-over on the DVD. She furrows her brow as the guide admits that “modern art is demanding, complicated, bewildering”, then bursts into a smile of relief when she hears that “the museum tries to make you feel at home, so you can relax and absorb what you see more easily.” She becomes pensive when the guide calls her attention to the museum´s “powerfully sensual” curves, whose “direct appeal has nothing to do with age or class or education.” When she´s finally invited to stroke the museum walls, she seems to get carried away. However, even when she pulls up her dress and starts rubbing up against a column, no one moves to intervene. After all, she is only doing what the audio-guide is telling her to do.

Little Frank and His Carp was inspired by the text of the audio-guide as a particulary outrageous example of the way corporatized museums like the Guggenheim are packaging artistic transgression and transcendence, subversion and sensuality. Biological metaphors and sexually suggestive anecdotes are paired with figures of technological wonder and cybernetic prowess in what could be seen as a catalogue of museological seduction in the age of globalization a neoliberalism.

Andrea Fraser Works: 1984 to 2003
Catalogue edited by Yilmaz Dziewior and published by Dumont Literatur, 2003

Yilmaz Dziewior and Dumont Literatur

…the excessive perfomance of desire on Fraser´s part in little Frank and his carp, a work where an “over-receptive viewer” (in John Miller´s words) inherits the model of the widly-opened subjectivity first drafted in the characters of Fraser´s earlier critical performances, woven together from a congeries of social and institutional sources… In Litlle Frank and his carp, Fraser had herself filmed with hidden cameras as she enters the lobby of Frank Gehry´s architecturally spectacular Guggenheim Bilbao, requests an audio-guide to the museum, and begins explicitly to follow its instructions…Following the instructions, Fraser smiles resplendently…she presses her hand against her chest…she looks puzzled…her smile grows…invited by the guide to touch…Fraser continues to touch the museum wall, eventually rubbing her entire body against it. She pulls up her dress. She shows off her white thong. She rub her ass. A small crowd gathers…Taking the museum´s desire “literally” and taking “herself as its object might continue to be an accurate description of Fraser´s Little Frank… Fraser follows the museum´s injuctions, only to produce effects that they were never intended to allow. She becomes a subject given over ardently to what psychoanalysis would call “transference”, displacing affect from a (psychically) real to a surrogate object, in this case not the analyst but the undulating museum walls.Transference had been the dynamic that Fraser´s early performances had intended to engage and yet to disrupt, and so the reversal of that project needs to be registered here…While the former layering produced a performance of schizophrenic (perhaps elitist) difficulty, the latter seems now to result in one of spectacular (perhaps popular) trangression… In this, Little Frank and his Carp becomes what Fraser calls a “catalogue” of current “museological seduction”.

Artforum, diciembre de 2002

Bob Nickas

Andrea Fraser, Little Frank and His Carp (Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York) Who would have thought institutional critique would evolve into such smart burlesque? Or that Fraser’s acting would become so sly and self-assured? Little Frank is Gerhy, and the carp is the Guggenheim Bilbao, to which Fraser succumbs by way of an Acoustiguide tour. As a seductive male voice lays bare all of the building’s many charms, Fraser responds in kind, and a slow hump of the wall ensues. The visitors’ reactions in the background? Priceless.

Time Out London, 9-16 de octubre de 2002

Martin Coomer

For this reason, Andrea Fraser’s video sticks out. Shot in Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim, Bilbao, the film pokes fun at the herd mentality of today’s museum visitors and patronising “edutainment” strategies employed by establishments desperate to pack them in. Fraser is aided bay a ridiculous soundtrack. On screen we watch her pick up an audio guide and respond to its treacle-voiced commands to explore the curvy volumes of the Guggenheim foyer. Hitching her dress above her waist, she fondles a limestone wall with alarming impropriety.

The London Times, 25 de septiembre de 2002

John Russell Taylor

Not all the works in the show are so rigorously conceptual. There is am amusing video by Andrea Fraser, Little Frank and his carp, in which she appear as an ecstatic visitor to the Guggenheim Bilbao, who takes the tour guide’s invitation to caress the sensuous curves of the walls all too literall.

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