Bruce Nauman

Animal Pyramid

January 29–February 21, 2015
Park & 75, New York

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Works Exhibited

Bruce Nauman, Animal Pyramid, 1989 Polyurethane foam, iron, wood, and wire, 144 × 84 × 96 inches (366 × 213 × 244 cm)© 2015 Bruce Nauman/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Bruce Nauman, Animal Pyramid, 1989

Polyurethane foam, iron, wood, and wire, 144 × 84 × 96 inches (366 × 213 × 244 cm)
© 2015 Bruce Nauman/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Gagosian New York is pleased to present Bruce Nauman’s Animal Pyramid of 1989.

Since the 1960s, Nauman's radical interdisciplinary approach has challenged conventions while producing new methodologies for creating art and meaning. Body and selfhood, the role of language, the phenomena of spatial awareness, and the relationship between artistic process and viewer participation are recurring themes in his art. His rigorous, ascetic approach to 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; and the generative interaction of positive and negative space.

In 1988, after a hiatus of nearly two decades focused on time-based media, Nauman resumed his work with cast objects. But rather than casting empty space or human forms as before, he turned to readymade molds—in this case, taxidermy molds used in preparing stuffed animals, which he first saw in a local taxidermy shop then procured from a mail-order catalogue.

Animal Pyramid is a stack of seventeen taxidermy molds rising to twelve feet. The carnivalesque arrangement of these alien creatures made out of amber-hued polyurethane evokes the dichotomy of nature and sport: four upside-down foxes crown graduated rows of deer and caribou, eerily featureless—even ambiguous—without their prized pelts and horns. The entire ensemble is visibly cobbled together with wire, the work of a morbid puppeteer. Like the preceding work Carousel (1988)—where dismembered taxidermy forms hang and drag from a steel axis that turns in an agonizing danse macabreAnimal Pyramid disturbs with its vision of carnage submitted to an artificial and bloodless geometric order.

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