• 00:32 I basically did what the audioguide told me to do
  • 02:03 The context of Bilbao: a long history of trade unionism that collapsed
  • 02:32 The museum as a place of freedom
03/05/2017 4' 49''

What do we want from art? Andrea Fraser (Billings, Montana 1965) addresses this question in her work and looks at the motivations of a wide range of cultural agents including artists, collectors, gallerists, patrons and audiences. Associated with institutional critique, and informed by feminism, psychoanalysis and the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of social fields, the core of Fraser’s work is a piercing analysis of the social fabric of the art world, exploring its internal mechanisms together with the political, economic and psychological structures that condition it. Infused with intellect, humour and emotion they challenge us to consider our own motivations as we view the work and participate in the field of art.

In FONS ÀUDIO #47, Andrea Fraser comments the work 'Little Frank and His Carp', in the MACBA Collection, which registered her performance in the atrium of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in 2001. Wearing a short green dress and black high heels, the artist moves through the interior of the building, one that is emblematic of nineties’ international museum architecture, while listening to the institution’s audio guide: 'You can feel your soul rise up with the building around you.' Recorded by five hidden cameras, 'Little Frank and His Carp' follows the artist’s movements from different angles and shows the changes in attitude and emotion generated by the male voice of the audio guide; a voice that highlights the architectural virtues and sensual forms of the building: 'The museum tries to make you feel at home, so you can relax.' Following these instructions, the artist responds erotically to the building, while other visitors observe her behaviour.

Behind all this are resonances of the public debate that has been ongoing since the establishment of the Guggenheim Museum in the Basque city in 1997. Since that time, the impact of the construction of the museum on the local economy has been the subject of much discussion, leading to the term 'the Bilbao effect', which has become prominent in discussions around the role of cultural institutions in urban regeneration and in the construction of a transnational institutional model, embedded in the neoliberal practice.

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SPECIALSFONS ÀUDIOAndrea Fraserinstitutional critiqueneoliberalismCreative CommonsMACBA Collection FONS ÀUDIO