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Little Frank and His Carp


  • Medium

    Video; color and sound

  • Dimensions

    Running time: 6min

  • Credit

    The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
    Purchase with funds provided by the Curatorial Discretionary Fund

  • Accession number


  • Object label

    Shot surreptitiously on handheld video cameras, Little Frank and His Carp shows Andrea Fraser renting and then listening to the official audio guide for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, which was designed by architect Frank Gehry. Fraser parodically exaggerates her responses to the guide, knitting her brow when it informs her that modern art is challenging, and smiling inanely when it assures her that she can relax. Her reflexive obedience highlights the authority that museums have in influencing our ideas about art and architecture. In response to the guide’s instruction to touch the lobby’s “sensual” limestone-clad curves, Fraser lifts her dress and presses her body against a pillar. She raises the question of what kinds of pleasures—aesthetic or sexual—museums sanction as well as what kinds of transgressions—aesthetic or sexual—they can tolerate, especially museums of, as the audio guide puts it, “demanding, complicating, bewildering” modern art.