Andrea Fraser is a leading representative of institutional critique. Products of thorough research, the performances she develops for art institutions touch on activities more usually the preserve of art educators than artists. In the hierarchies of the so-called art system conflicting interests prevail which are to a growing argued out under the constraints of economic efficiency and professionalism. Fraser’s role-plays as an art educator in Welcome to the Wadsworth or a naïve art tourist in Little Frank and His Carp, unmask what is not infrequently a conceited competition of the values and tenors those responsible attempt to advocate. What is culture and what significance is attributed to it by society? In her videos and performances, Fraser directs attention to the influences of power politics and the financial constraints, which ultimately determine the culture of a society.
In Little Frank and his Carp, Fraser slips into the role of a seemingly naïve art consumer walking through the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao equipped with an audio guide. ›Little Frank‹ is here star architect Frank O. Gehry and ›his carp‹ is an ironic comment on the museum built by him. The recorded male voice focuses on the architectural highlights of the building and invites the visitors to touch the surface of a wall. Fraser goes along with this invitation but experiences the ›abstract‹ contemplation as a physical-sensuous event.