Bruce Nauman By Holly, Jo, Ollie, Jack, Gen and Peter
About Bruce Nauman • Bruce Nauman was born in 1941 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. • He studied art, mathematics, and physics at the University of Wisconsin. • He went on to study under William T. Wiley and Robert Arneson at the University of California. • In 1964, Nauman gave up painting and began experimenting with sculpture and Performance art and collaborated with William Allan and Robert Nelson on film projects.
Since the mid-1960s, the artist has created an open-ended body of work that includes sculptures, films, holograms, interactive environments, neon wall reliefs, photographs, prints, sculptures, videotapes, and performance. • In 1966, the Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, held Nauman’s first solo exhibition. • Between 1966 and 1970 he made several videos, in which he used his body to explore the potentials of art and the role of the artist, and to investigate psychological states and behavioural codes • Nauman holds honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees from the San Francisco Art Institute and the California Institute of the Arts Along with several other accolades. • In 1989, he established a home and studio in Galisteo, New Mexico, where he continues to work and live along with his wife, the painter Susan Rothenberg
Themes and Concepts Since the 1960s, Nauman's radical interdisciplinary approach has challenged conventions while producing new methodologies for making art and meaning. Recurring themes in his art include: • Body and selfhood • The role of language • The metaphor of oppression • The phenomena of spatial awareness • The relationship between artistic process and viewer participation • The discrepancies between idea and reality.
His work consistently confronts standards of taste and art. • Irony and wordplay is often used to raise issues about existence and alienation, and increasingly it provokes the viewer’s participation and dismay. • He deals with the psychological, the perverse, the provocative, the absurd and the ugly in order to share his pessimism about prospects for modifying and improving human behaviour. • The human condition has been a key subject that Nauman continues to investigate.
In an interview with Joan Simons (1988), Nauman quotes: • "Sunsets, flowers, landscapes: these kinds of things don't move me to do anything. I just want to leave them alone. My work comes out of being frustrated about the human condition. And about how people refuse to understand other people. And about how people can be cruel to each other. It's not that I think I can change that, but it's just such a frustrating part of human history."
Naumanhas managed to rigorously approach existential questions of life and death, love and hate, pleasure and pain, while embracing many mediums including performance, video, holography, installation, neon, sculpture, and drawing. • A constant throughout his career however, is his persistence in exploring both art as an investigation of the self and the power of language to define that self.
Over the past thirty years Nauman has evolved an aesthetic based not on the production of beautiful objects, but on the experience of works that are often ‘ugly’ in their unelaborated explicitness. • His works tend to function less like conventional works of art than behavioral models, forcing participation from the viewer and provoking a response. • “If I was an artist and I was in the studio, then whatever I was doing in the studio must be art. At this point art became more of an activity and less of a product.”
Influences on Nauman Ludwig Wittgenstein
TractatusLogico and Art The world is all that is the case The world is the totality of facts, not of things The world is determined by the facts, and by their being all the facts For the totality of facts determines what is the case, and also whatever is not the case The facts in logical space are the world The world divides into facts Each item can be the case or not the case while everything else remains the same
TractatusLogico and Art “You lay out a proposition and attempt to prove it… …from Wittgenstein I learned it is also valuable to look at the process…” -Nauman, 1995
Influences on Nauman Samuel Beckett
Influences on Nauman Samuel Beckett
Clown Torture – Video installation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YorcQscxV5Y
Changing Light Corridor with Rooms (1971) Corridor with Mirror and White Lights