Andrea Fraser began exhibiting in the United States in the mid 1980s. Much of her work is concerned with the hierarchical structures of the art world and the relationships between its constituent parts: museums, curators, collectors, artists and audiences.
Little Frank and his carp 2001 is a humorous and thoughtful critique of contemporary museum architecture. The video was inspired by the text of the audio guide for the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, one of the most celebrated art museum buildings of the late twentieth century. Fraser describes the audio guide as ‘a particularly outrageous example of the way corporatized museums like the Guggenheim are packaging artistic transgression and transcendence, subversion and sensuality’. In this work, the artist is seen listening to an audio guide that forms the soundtrack to the video. Responding to the suggestive language of the guide, Fraser comically follows its instructions, which seem to call for a rapturous, and even sensual, relationship to the famous museum building. Satirical and provocative, Little Frank and his carp sets out to undermine the self-image projected by the museum and to reflect on the potential for museum buildings to overpower the objects and ideas that they contain.