Since the 1960s, Bruce Nauman's radical interdisciplinary approach has challenged conventions while producing new methodologies for creating art and meaning. His rigorous, ascetic engagement with the existential dichotomies of life/death, love/hate, pleasure/pain has embraced performance, video, holography, installation, sculpture, and drawing. From the attitudes and forms of his Post–Minimalist and Conceptual work to his most recent sound installations, persistent themes and ideas appear: the use of the body as material; the relationship between image and language, art and viewer; and the generative interaction of positive and negative space.
Bruce Nauman was born in 1941 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He received his B.S. in 1964 from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and his M.F.A. in 1966 from the University of California, Davis. From 1966 to 1968, he taught at San Francisco Art Institute, California, and in 1970 he taught at University of California, Irvine. Recent solo exhibitions include “Mapping The Studio: Bruce Nauman Video Works,” National Gallery of Victoria International, Melbourne (2005); “Pay Attention: Bruce Nauman Videos from the Collection of Barbara Balkin Cottle and Robert Cottle,” Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Arizona (2005); Bündner Kunstmuseum Chur, Switzerland (2005); Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin (2006, traveled to Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana; Museum of Contemporary Art, Florida; Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, California; Musee d’Art Contemporain, Montreal, Canada; Australian Center for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; and Queensland Art Gallery, Australia, through 2008); Tate Liverpool, England (2006, traveled to Museo d'Arte Donna Regina, Italy); University of California, Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, California (2007, traveled to Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Italy; and The Menil Collection, Houston); Centre d'Art la Panera, Colombia (2008); Museu de Arte Contemporanea, Portugal (2008); Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Poland (2009); Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania (2009); Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Michigan (2009); Center for Contemporary Art, Japan (2010); Musée d'Art Contemporain Lyon, France (2010); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010); Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin (2010); Neues Museum Weserburg Bremen, Germany (2010); Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2012); Göteburgs Konstmuseum (Gothenburg Museum of Art), Sweden (2013); Institut Valencia d’Art Modern, Spain (2015); Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris (2015); and Skulpturenpark Waldfrieden (Waldfrieden Sculpture Park), Germany (2015).
Nauman currently lives and works in Galisteo, New Mexico.
Extended through September 26, 2015
Selected Works from 1967 to 1990
May 21–September 26, 2015
rue de Ponthieu, Paris
Was wir Menschen anbeten
October 19, 2019–March 1, 2020
Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany
This exhibition, whose title translates to Icons: Worship and Adoration, presents a single masterpiece in each of the museum’s sixty galleries complemented by everyday icons—from consumer brands to icons of popular culture, offering an interpretation of the traditional notion of the icon in art juxtaposed with the proliferation of icons in everyday life. The presentation examines various aspects of spirituality, devotion, and adoration. Work by Francis Bacon, Andreas Gursky, Damien Hirst, Yves Klein, Jeff Koons, Bruce Nauman, and Andy Warhol is included.
Damien Hirst, Liberation, 2019, installation view, Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020
Objects of Wonder
From Pedestal to Interaction
October 12, 2019–March 1, 2020
ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Denmark
Objects of Wonder features sculptural works from 1960 until the present. The exhibition, conceptualized in collaboration with Tate, London, showcases recent sensory or thought-provoking sculpture and experiments. The audience encounters a series of works that challenge the genre, where tactility, context, and light play a central role. Work by Damien Hirst, Bruce Nauman, and Rachel Whiteread is included.
Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (Air Bed II), 1992 © Rachel Whiteread
The Foundation of the Museum
May 19, 2019–January 20, 2020
Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles
To mark the museum’s fortieth anniversary, this exhibition presents a selected topography of artworks that speak to the diversity of MOCA’s collecting over the past four decades. With special emphasis on works associated with the museum’s remarkable history of exhibitions, The Foundation of the Museum: MOCA’s Collection shows the institution’s holdings as shaped by a changing landscape of developments in contemporary art and curatorial focus, as well by as the social and cultural backdrops that inform them. Work by Chris Burden, Mike Kelley, Bruce Nauman, Albert Oehlen, Nancy Rubins, and Ed Ruscha is included.
Chris Burden, Exposing the Foundation of the Museum, 1986 © 2019 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Squidds and Nunns
The Body Electric
March 30–July 21, 2019
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
In an age dominated by digital technology, The Body Electric explores themes of the real and the virtual, the organic and the artificial, moving from world to screen and back again. This exhibition presents work by an international and intergenerational group of artists who examine ways that photographic, televisual, and digital media change our perceptions of the human body and everyday life. Work by Bruce Nauman and Nam June Paik is included.
Nam June Paik, TV Cello, 1971 © Nam June Paik Estate