Baring the Truth

Art in America, julio 2002

Barbara Pollack

In Fraser’s worldview, Rockefeller’s support, politically inspired in part, for Mexican modernism was a precursor of contemporary cultural globalism, especially the kind propounded by Thomas Krens. The Guggenheim Bilbao, located in the heart of Spain’s Basque region, is Fraser target in Little Frank and His Carp (2001), a video presented on a monitor at the entrance to Friedrich Petzel Gallery. Acoustiguides have long been grist for this artist, most notably in Introduction to the Whitney Biennal (1993), her contribution to that exhibition. Here, instead of creating an Acousticguide for gallery-goers, Fraser embodies a museum visitor using a real one. Filmed in the lobby of Frank Gehry’s “masterpiece”, she listens raptly to the words on the tape, which form soundtrack for the video. The recording rambles on about the glories of the architecture, barely referencing the works of art. Fraser literally writhes with pleasure as the recorded voice draws attention to the undulating curves and textured surfaces of the surronding space. At one point, she lifts her skimpy sweater dress, exposes her bare bottom, and bumps and grinds against one of the curvaceous columns as if humping the very architecture. This is art appreciation taken to an extreme. We can see the real museum-goers watch her performance, not too shocked or confused, as if they already understand-“Ah, yes, so transgressive”-that this must be “just contemporary art”.