Little Frank and His Carp

© Generali Foundation Collection—Permanent Loan to the Museum der Moderne Salzburg

Andrea Fraser

Little Frank and His Carp, 2001

Video, color, sound, 6 min Performer: Andrea Fraser Voice-over: official audio-guide of the Guggenheim Bilbao Produced by Consonni, Bilbao Edition 9/25, 3 A. P.


Artwork text

Shot with hidden cameras in the Guggenheim Bilbao. Little Frank and His Carp is based on an unauthorized 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- on the DVD. She furrows her brow as the guide admits that "modern art is demand-ing, complicated, bewildering," then bursts into a smile of relief when she hears that "the mu-seum 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 particularly outra-geous 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 musicological seduction in the age of globalization and neoliberalism. (Andrea Fraser)