Andrea Fraser

James Trainor

Frieze, Nº 86, abril de 2002

In an inversion of her familiar role as museum guide, the short and sweet Little Frank and his carp, seen at Friedich Pastel gallery, finds Fraser in the unaccustomed position of happy museum visitor. Surreptitiously shot at Guggenheim Bilbao, it depicts an unannounced performance for which Fraser cheerfully strolls through the atrium of Frank Gehry’s building led by the ubiquitous educational tool of the 21st-century museum, the audio guide. Fraser uses the disembodied voice-by turns ingratiatingly celebratory, condescending, sycophantic and authoritative –as ready-made, a fetish object akin to the TV remote control. Dutifully responding to its emotional cues and manipulative subtexts, Fraser admiringly approaches the abstracted fish-shaped tower at the centre of the hall (which, we are reminded, is a signature of the Gerhy mythology). Heeding the blandly erotised invitation to caress the tower’s walls (“run your hand over them… feel how smooth it is”), at the video’s climax Fraser yields to what becomes a comically masturbatory performance, stroking the leading edge of little Frank’s over-sized “carp” as well as her own flanks. Much to the surprised amusement of a nearby clutch of art tourists, Fraser renders unto the museum what its audio guide implicitly demands of the ideal cultural consumer: the unquestioned union of the institution and its public.

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