Bruce Nauman, Double Poke in the Eye II, 1985, Neonröhren auf Aluminiumkasten, 61 x 91 x 25 cm, Auflage 7/40 + 8 e.a., Friedrich Christian Flick Collection im Hamburger Bahnhof, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010. Foto: Stefan Altenburger.

Bruce Nauman's Corridors and Rooms, 'Experience Architecture'

Bruce Nauman, Sex and Death/Double “69”, 1985, Neonröhren auf Aluminiumkasten, 215,9 x 314,6 x 30,5 cm, Friedrich Christian Flick Collection im Hamburger Bahnhof, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010. Foto: MOV Ministry of Vision.

Bruce Nauman, Four Pairs of Heads (Detail), 1991, Bronze, Kupfer- und Eisendraht, 4 Teile, Maße variabel, Friedrich Christian Flick Collection im Hamburger Bahnhof, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010. Foto: Roman März, Berlin.


Hamburger Bahnhof –
Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin
Invalidenstraße 50/51
+ 49-0-30-3978-3412
Bruce Nauman. Dream Passage
May 28-October 10, 2010

At the end of the 1960s, Bruce Nauman began constructing corridors and rooms that could be entered by visitors and which evoked the experience of being locked in and of being exposed. Some exceptional examples of this “experience architecture” will be exhibited in the central hall of the museum, including the complex work Corridor Installation (Nick Wilder Installation) from 1970, where visitors are recorded by a video camera and then confronted with their own image.

Dream Passage, is the first major show of American artist Bruce Nauman in Berlin. The exhibition is being held in conjunction with the spectacular architectural sculpture Room with My Soul Left Out, Room That Does Not Care from 1984. Recently donated to the National Gallery by collector Friedrich Christian Flick, the sculpture will be installed on a permanent basis at the museum. This provides visitors with the exceptional opportunity to experience a monumental indoor sculpture by the artist in Berlin. In close cooperation with the artist, this extreme work of art will be installed in Hall 5 of the Rieckhallen of Hamburger Bahnhof. With three intersecting corridors which can be entered by the viewer, this vast room-sized sculpture is the high point of Dream Passages, a series of works inspired by a dream of the artist. The work has not been exhibited since 1984 when it was presented in the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York.

Nauman’s work has focused on explicit political connotations since the beginning of the 1980s, Musical Chair from 1983, for example, is an aggressive sculpture, containing a hanging metal chair that illustrates the artist’s critique of torture and violence used in totalitarian regimes. Complex neon works like American Violence, 1981-82, or Sex and Death / Double 69, 1985, on the other hand, examine the connections between sex, violence and death.

On the occasion of the exhibition Dream Passage, some of Nauman’s works also enter into a dialogue with works by other artists of his generation, such as Robert Morris, Eva Hesse or Richard Jackson, within the museum’s permanent collection. The unique ensemble of works by Bruce Nauman from the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection forms the basis of the exhibition. The Collection which is on loan in the Nationalgalerie contains major works from almost every stage of the artist’s practice; these are being exhibited along with works from the Marx and Marzona collections and a small number of loans from other museums.

Bruce Nauman, Model for Room with My Soul Left Out Room That Does Not Care, 1984, Holz, Depafit, Klebeband, Draht, Glühbirne, Dispersion, Bleistift, Leim, 152,4 x 152,4 x 152,4 cm, Friedrich Christian Flick Collection im Hamburger Bahnhof, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010. Foto: Thomas Bruns, Berlin.

Bruce Nauman, Corridor Installation (Nick Wilder Installation), 1970, Holzwände, Dispersion, 3 Videokameras, Scanner, Gestell, 5 Monitore, Videorekorder, Videoplayer, Videoband (schwarzweiß, ohne Ton). Maße variabel, Installation in der Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, 1970: 335,3 x 1219,2 x 914,4 cm, Friedrich Christian Flick Collection im Hamburger Bahnhof, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010. Foto: Richard Barnes, Dia Art Foundation, New York

Bruce Nauman, Model for Trench and Four Buried Passages, 1977, Gips, Fiberglas, Draht, Holz, Höhe 165,1 cm, innerer Kreis Ø ca. 487,7 cm, äußerer Kreis Ø ca. 914,4 cm, Friedrich Christian Flick Collection im Hamburger Bahnhof, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010. Foto: Roman März, Berlin.

Bruce Nauman, Diamond Mind Circle of Tears Fallen All Around Me, 1975, Six sandstone blocks, each roughly 15" cubed, distributed in a concentric circle.

Bruce Nauman in the Beginning, Poetry and Surrealism

Peter Freeman, Inc.
560 Broadway, #602/603
New York
Bruce Nauman: Diamond Mind Circle
of Tears Fallen All Around Me
January 15-February 21, 2009

First shown in Dusseldorff at Konrad Fischer Gallery in 1975, and presented at S.M.A.K. (Stedelijk Museum voor Actual Kunst), Gent, 1992, this is a rare public viewing of this major work and the first in the U.S.

Diamond Mind Circle of Tears Fallen All Around Me (1975) consists of six sandstone blocks, each roughly 15 inches cubed, distributed in a concentric circle. The blocks’ rhomboid shapes produce an unusual sense of dislocation, as if the room itself were slightly askew. In the mid-1970s Nauman created a series of installations with rhomboid cubes that explore the complexities of perception. In works like Diamond Mind II (1975-1977) and Consummate Mask of Rock (1975; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art), as well as this piece, Nauman presents a minimal art gone awry.

In Diamond Mind Circle of Tears All Around Me, Nauman subverts the strict geometries of Minimalism through his subtle shifting of the square form, and complements the phenomenological experience of Minimalist installations with a psychological dimension. With the poetic, almost Surrealist, title, the cubes begin to suggest a circle of human emotion, of “tears fallen all around me.”

In addition to the sculpture, the exhibition includes the large diagramatic drawing by Nauman for the installation. Michael Auping, the Chief Curator at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, emphasizes in his essay Projection and Displacement that:

Of all the types of drawings Nauman has done for different mediums, his drawings for installations are particularly interesting [ … because] they reveal, perhaps more than any other type, how Nauman thinks his way not simply into sculpture but into the peculiar kind of space his installations present.


Nauman, selected to represent the United States in the American Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009), is among the most important living American artists. Over four decades his work has employed Post-Minimalist and Conceptual strategies in a variety of mediums including sculpture, video, film, and performance. His most recent solo exhibitions include the travelling retrospective A Rose Has No Teeth: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s initiated at the University of California, Berkeley, and Elusive Signs: Bruce Nauman Works with Light at the Milwaukee Art Museum. He was born in 1941 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He lives and works in New Mexico.

Nauman's practice spans a broad range of media including sculpture, photography, neon, video, drawing, printmaking, and performance.

Nauman studied mathematics and physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and art with William T. Wiley and Robert Arneson at the University of California, Davis. He worked as an assistant to Wayne Thiebaud, and in 1966 he became a teacher at the San Francisco Art Institute. In 1968 he met the singer and performance artist Meredith Monk and signed with the dealer Leo Castelli. In the 1980s he moved to New Mexico.

Much of his work is characterized by an interest in language, often manifesting itself in a playful, mischievous manner. For example, the neon Run From Fear – Fun From Rear, or the photograph Bound To Fail, which literalises the title phrase and shows the artist's arms tied behind his back. There are however, very serious concerns at the heart of Nauman's practice. He seems to be fascinated by the nature of communication and language's inherent problems, as well as the role of the artist as supposed communicator and manipulator of visual symbols.

In 1993, Nauman received the Wolf Prize in Arts (an Israeli award) for distinguished work as a sculptor and extraordinary contribution to 20th-century art. In 1999, he received the Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale. In 2004 he created his work Raw Materials for display at Tate Modern. ranked Nauman as the number one among living artists in 2006, followed by Gerhard Richter and Robert Rauschenberg.

On January 25, 2008, the US Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) announced the selection of Bruce Nauman as the American representative to the 2009 Venice Biennale.

Bruce Nauman, Study for Diamond Mind Circle of Tears Fallen All Around Me, 1975.

Bruce Nauman, Failing to Levitate in My Studio, 1966. Black and white photograph, 20 x 24". Courtesy of the artist.© 2008 Bruce Nauman / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Bruce Nauman: Evoking in the Viewer Theatres of Comedy and Pain

Bruce Nauman, Jump, 1994, Videostill.

Bruce Nauman, Eating My Words from Eleven Color Photographs, 1966-67/70.

Bruce Nauman, Waxing Hot from Eleven Color Photographs, 1966-67/70.


Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis
3750 Washington Boulevard
St. Louis
Bruce Nauman: Dead Shot Dan
January 23-April 19, 2009

Bruce Nauman’s work is often discussed in relationship to the writer Samuel Beckett, a playwright who evoked the painful drama of existence, and yet never left laughter too far behind. Becket’t’s only film screenplay, appropriately titled Film (1965), stars the aging Buster Keaton and adds a comic edge to the classical Beckettian loop of tragic paralysis

And indeed, Keaton’s own films tell tales of endlessly violent acts tinged by the comedic gesture of Sisyphean traps, bodily contortions, linguistic slip-ups, and misunderstandings. Similarly, Nauman’s comedy comes with a sour after-taste, and this selection of neons, drawings, prints, photographs, and videos make us laugh and cringe.

While Nauman works with a wide range of themes, processes, and ideas, this exhibition underlines his particular use of humor — deadpan, painful, and relentlessly tongue-in-cheek.

Greeting viewers to Dead Shot Dan is Nauman’s 1985 neon Double Poke in the Eye II. The pair takes turns poking at each otheras the neon light alternates—becoming enemies in perpetuity, caught in an endless back-and-forth of mindless aggression.

Like Keaton, they are permanently stuck in a bind. Each poke becomes a tiny victory, and viewers often find humor in these small successes. In the two-channel video Jump (1994), the artist has a succession of very short victories against gravity itself.

Nauman had taken on gravity before. In an iconic 1966 photograph, Failing to Levitate in the Studio, a double-exposed black and white image presentshis attempt to hover above his studio floor. A large series of color photographs from the same period, Eleven Color Photographs (1966-67/70), points to the artist’s interest in dumb one-liners and linguistic puns. The image Eating My Words depicts the artist at a kitchen table spreading jam on a series of letters; for Waxing Hot, he is seen polishing the letters H, O, and T with wax. Also on view is the 1966 drawing Love Me Tender, Move Te Lender, in which the artist shuffles around the letters of an Elvis Presley song.

Failure, self-deprecation, and uselessness — concepts central to Nauman’s practice — can often be hilarious. In Nauman’s rarely-seen video Bar Tricks (1995), a woman auditions in front of the artist, performing card-tricks. The illusionist, nervous in the audition setting, delivers an awkward magic show, never quite impressing her audience. Hearing the artist chuckle with each flashy sleight of hand, we laugh along.Nauman’s work is ruthless in making its audience into victims caught in uncomfortable places. But we still try to laugh our way out of it, particularly when the artist addresses and disparages his viewers explicitly, as with Pay Attention (1973).

This exhibition draws its inspiration from Buster Keaton’s physical comedy, funny violence, and sleights of hand, traits that appear throughout Nauman’s oeuvre. The title of the exhibition refers to the 1921 silent short film The Goat, in which Keaton plays an innocent hero who is mistaken for a criminal named Dead Shot Dan. “The 27-minutes of narrow escapes, disguises, and hide-outs are among Keaton’s most memorable performances and serve as an apt stand-in for Bruce Nauman and the way he makes us laugh,” notes the contemporary’s Chief Curator Anthony Huberman.

Bruce Nauman (b. 1941, Fort Wayne, Indiana) studied mathematics, physics, and studio art at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and then pursued an MFA at the University of California, Davis. In 1966 Nauman had his first solo show at the Nicholas Wilder Gallery in Los Angeles and in 1973, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art co-organized his first museum survey. A large-scale retrospective exhibition in 1994 was organized by the Walker Art Center and the Hirschhorn Museum, and traveled to The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and the Reina Sofia in Madrid. In the summer of 2009, Nauman will represent the United States in the Venice Biennale.

Bruce Nauman, Double Poke in the Eye II, 1985. Neon tubing mounted on aluminum monolith, 24 x 36 x 9-¼", edition of 40. Collection of Lois and Steve Eisen. © 2008 Bruce Nauman / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.


Bruce Nauman, Pay Attention, 1973, Planographic lithograph, printed in one colour Impression: right to print, Edition: 50 plus 9 artist's proofs; right to print; printer's proof II; 3 Gemini impressions; cancellation proof, 95.6 h x 70.2 w cm, © Bruce Nauman.

Bruce Nauman, The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths (Window or Wall Sign), 1967. Neon tubing with clear glass tubing suspension supports; 59 x 55 x 2".

Bruce Nauman, Slow Angle Walk (Beckett Walk), 1968, Video, black and white, sound. Approx. 60 minutes repeated continuously Electronic Arts Intermix, New York © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2002.

Revealing Mystic Truths of Art and Language: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s

Bruce Nauman, Lip Sync 1969, Video, black and white, sound, approx. 60 minutes repeated continuously, Electronic Arts Intermix, New York © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2006.

Bruce Nauman, Art Make-up, 1967-1968, 16mm color films, silent - Videostill, © VG Bild - Kunst, Bonn 2003 / 2004.

Bruce Nauman, Suite Substitute, 1968, © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2006, courtesy of the Froehlich Collection, Stuttgart.


The Menil Collection
1515 Sul Ross
A Rose Has No Teeth:
Bruce Nauman in the 1960s

October 25, 2007-January 13, 2008

“The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths,” reads one of Bruce Nauman’s earliest pieces, a work in blue neon from 1967. Though few at the time knew Nauman’s name, he is now regarded as one of the most influential artists of his time for his groundbreaking work in a variety of media over the past 40 years.

The Menil Collection provides an in-depth look at the formative years of Nauman’s career in A Rose Has No Teeth: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s (the title of the exhibition is drawn from a 1966 work, an embossed plaque quoting Ludwig Wittgenstein, revealing Nauman’s interest in art and language).

Organized by Constance Lewallen, senior curator of exhibitions at the University of California’s Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, where it was first presented, A Rose Has No Teeth includes over 100 works, including sculpture, ephemera, artist books, and video. Several of these works have never been displayed before, and together provide new insight into a vital early stage of Nauman’s career.

The exhibition presents a full range of Nauman’s early work, exploring how many of the artist’s recurrent themes and subjects first emerged when he was a graduate art student at the University of California, Davis. Although Nauman had his first solo show in 1966 in Los Angeles, his 1968 New York debut established his reputation and associated him with the East Coast despite his subsequent move to New Mexico. Since then, Nauman's Bay Area beginnings and influence remained an unexplored part of his 40-year career.

Among the works are notable photographs, videos, and performance pieces such as Eleven Color Photographs, Art Make-Up and Slow Angle Walk (Beckett Walk), which illustrate Nauman’s early ventures in photography and film. Sketches, including the pencil-on-paper conception of A Rose Has No Teeth, provide glimpses of the artist’s original ideas before they were fleshed out as sculptures and performances. Rounding out the exhibition are sculptures and installation pieces, such as Knot an Ear, Cup with Its Merging Saucer and Sweet, Suite, Substitute, created in a variety of traditional and non-traditional mediums including wax, ceramic, fiberglass, neon-tubing and resin.

Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1941, Bruce Nauman (who has resided for many years in a remote part of New Mexico), spent his developing years in northern California, first as a graduate student at the University of California, Davis, from 1964 to 1966, and then in San Francisco as a working artist and part-time instructor at the San Francisco Art Institute. During this period, Nauman began using wordplay in his sculptures of clay, fiberglass, polyester resin, and other non-traditional materials. He created casts of negative space and parts of his own body, incorporated neon tubes into sculptures, and made his now-familiar neon reliefs. He was a pioneer in using his body as a component in live performances, photographs, films, and video recordings. These early experiments, in which he discovered process to be more fundamental than product, established his reputation as one of the most innovative artists of his generation. He created virtually all of his landmark early films and videos during this period, and he was among the first artists ever to include video works in a gallery exhibition.

Over the years, Nauman’s work has remained constant in its explorations yet diverse in range. He employs forms that range from Post-Minimalism and Conceptual art to film and video installations, in which a series of themes and ideas consistently appear: the use of the human body as material; the integration of art and language; the relationship of art and architecture; and such dichotomies as concealment and revelation; interior and exterior; and positive and negative space. Ultimately, as Nauman has stated (quoted by Brenda Richardson in the exhibition catalogue, Bruce Nauman, Neons): “In the end, I think most of my work...[is about] why anybody continues to make art. It’s always interested me how one does any work in the studio at all, what it’s supposed to be about, how you get things started or make sense of the process. Even though the work is coming from somewhere inside, you can’t put your finger on the source, and it never happens twice the same way. When you can’t do any work, you can’t figure out how to get it started, and once it’s started, you can’t figure out where it came from.”

A Rose Has No Teeth provides an unprecedented investigation of Nauman’s career, influences, and contributions to contemporary art, adding to scholarship on both the artist and a particularly influential period in American art history. Lewallen conducted over 40 interviews with Nauman’s former teachers, colleagues, friends, and students, as well as artists associated with the Conceptual art movement in the Bay Area. Her conversations with photographer Jack Fulton, who collaborated with Nauman in the 1960s, led to the discovery of a long-forgotten cache of outtakes from the 1970 screen print series, Studies for Holograms.

Published by University of California Press, A Rose Has No Teeth: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s, the 256-page, illustrated catalogue, will contribute significantly to existing scholarship on the artist and on Bay Area art movements of the 1960s. The book will include essays by Anne Wagner, an art historian and UC Berkeley art history professor; Robert Storr, an artist, critic, and former curator at The Museum of Modern Art, New York; curator and writer Robert Riley; and exhibition curator Constance Lewallen, for whom Bay Area art of the 1960s has long been an interest. “If the Minimalists took sculpture off the pedestal,” writes Lewallen in the catalogue, “Nauman was among those who made the creative process fully evident in the work’s final form.”

Bruce Nauman, Infrared Outtakes: Neck Pull (photographed by Jack Fulton), 1968/2006, University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, gift of the artist and Gemini G.E.L. LLC., All artworks © 2006 Bruce Nauman/Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Bruce Nauman, Mean Clown Welcome, detail, 1985, Neon tubes mounted on metal frame, Collection Udo and Anette Brandhorst Collection, Cologne, Permission of Donald Young Gallery, Chicago , © Bruce Nauman / SODRAC (2007).

Bruce Nauman on Life, Death, Love, Hate, Pleasure, Pain

Bruce Nauman, Five Marching Men, detail, 1985, Neon tubing mounted on aluminum monolith, 79-1⁄2 x 129-1⁄2 x 11-1⁄2", Friedrich Christian FlickCollection, © Bruce Nauman / SODRAC, 2007.

Bruce Nauman, One Hundred fish Fountain, 2005, 97 bronze fish in 7 different forms, suspended by wire from a metal trellis, 7.6 m x 8.5 m x 20.3 cm, Permission Donald Young Gallery, Chicago, © Bruce Mauman / SODRAC, 2007.


Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal
185 Sainte-Catherine Ouest

Bruce Nauman Exhibition
May 26-September 3, 2007

Bruce Nauman’s whole body of work raises incisive existential questions related to life and death, love and hate, pleasure and pain — the very words he uses in the title of his neon work Life, Death, Love, Hate, Pleasure, Pain.

Bruce Nauman is a leading figure in contemporary art. Celebrated as one of the greatest living artists by ArtNews magazine, and as one of the world’s 100 most significant personalities by Esquire and Time magazines, Nauman has had a major influence on succeeding generations of artists for more than 40 years.

Notions of body and identity, the role of language, the phenomena of spatial awareness, and artistic process and viewer participation are recurring themes in Nauman’s art. Following a rigorous, innovative approach, he explores various means of expression — neon, sculpture, film, video, performance, drawing — and is considered one of the pioneers of installation.

To reflect this multidisciplinary aspect, the exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain consists of two separate but complementary parts. Elusive Signs: Bruce Nauman Works with Light, organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum, features a remarkable series of about 15 neon sculptures and light installations produced in the first two decades of the artist’s career (from 1965 to 1985). Neon tubing fills the space, proposing word games such as None Sing, Neon Sign or Run from Fear, Fun from Rear. Other neons, like Mean Clown Welcome, show clown-like figures. These light-based works apply irony and humor to the contradictions intrinsic to the human condition and its opposites of sex and violence, humour and horror, life and death, pleasure and pain. The 1971 architectural installations Corridor with Mirror and White Lights (Corridor with Reflected Image) and Helman Gallery Parallelogram deconstruct the space and bathe it in an intense light, inducing a sensory experience in visitors that is disconcerting, to say the least.

The second section, assembled exclusively for the Montréal presentation by Musée d’art contemporain curator Sandra Grant Marchand, showcases a selection of films and videos from the 1960s, seminal video installations from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, and the masterly recent work One Hundred Fish Fountain, 2005. In his films and videos, which focus on body language and usually show the artist “performing” in his studio, Nauman expresses the passage of time, repetitiveness, the ritual of everyday gestures and the resulting self-awareness.

Each of the last three decades in Nauman’s output is represented by a major video installation. Clown Torture, 1987, is a key work in his artistic career, with the tension between comedy and tragedy that it arouses in visitors. It depicts clowns wrestling with feelings of anxiety and isolation, and tackles such sensitive themes as insanity, surveillance and torture. Anthro/Socio (Rinde Spinning), from 1992, examines the role of language and the spectator’s involvement in the aesthetic experience. In Office Edit II, 2001, Nauman films his mouse-infested studio at night. As Sandra Grant Marchand explains, “In a new way of conveying the strange continuity of life, the work becomes what happens in the studio space, and the artist, the witness to the activities going on there.”

This continuity of life may also be observed in the spectacular piece One Hundred Fish Fountain, 2005, which recalls the artist’s childhood memories of going fishing on Lake Michigan with his father. The work consists of 97 bronze fish suspended with wires over a large basin. Water is pumped through the fish and spurts out of their bodies. The fountain is programmed so that the viewer perceives the noise and movement of the water, followed by silence when the pumps stop.

Nauman has continually endeavored to push back the boundaries of art and bring viewers to reflect on the contradictions inherent in the human condition and in our world today.

Nauman is a prominent figure on the international art scene and has been the subject of a number of major exhibitions, including the retrospective organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, in association with the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, and presented at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1995; the exhibition Bruce Nauman Image/Texte 1966-1996, organized by the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, in 1997; Raw Materials: The Unilever Series: Bruce Nauman at the Tate Modern, London, in 2004; Bruce Nauman: Make Me Think Me at the Tate Liverpool, in 2006; and A Rose Has No Teeth: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s, University of California, Berkeley Art Museum, in 2007. Nauman was born in 1941 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He lives and works in New Mexico.

Bruce Nauman, Run from Fear, Fun from Rear, 1972, Neon tubing with clear glass tubing suspension frame, two parts, 8 x 24 x 2-1⁄2" each; Ed. 4/6, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Gerald S. Elliott Collection, © Bruce Nauman / SODRAC, 2007.