Nauman, Bruce

Nauman, Bruce nou´mən [key], 1941–, American artist, b. Fort Wayne, Ind., B.A. Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison (1964), M.F.A. Univ. of California, Davis (1966). One of the most innovative and influential contemporary American artists, he was partially responsible for restoring political and social content to works of art and for lessening the influence of minimalism . Nauman has worked in many media, including sculpture (fiberglass, neon, rubber, and other materials), drawing, photography, video and film, sound, holograms, prints, performance, and installations. Highly conceptual and concerned with the process of making art, Nauman displays a witty, irreverant, and frequently ironic sensibility in work that varies from casts of his own body, e.g., From Hand to Mouth (1967, Hirshhorn Mus., Washington, D.C.) to flashing neon signs that frequently pun, employ homonyms, and otherwise play with language, e.g., None Sing (1970, Guggenheim Mus.), and a variety of videotape installations, e.g., Clown Torture (1987, Art Inst. of Chicago) and Mapping the Studio I (Fat Chance John Cage) (2001). Nauman represented the United States in the 2009 Venice Biennale. His latest work, Contrapposto Studies, first shown in 2016, is a multipart video and sound work that uses his own body and echoes a 1968 work.

See writings and interviews ed. by J. Kraynak (2003); studies by J. Livingston and M. Tucker (1972), C. van Bruggen (1988), N. Benezra (1994), R. C. Morgan, ed. (2002), S. Cross, ed. (2003), and P. Plagens (2014).

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