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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, social, and moral content to works of art and for lessening the influence of minimalism. The body, his and the viewer's, has been the focus of much of his art. 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.), to claustrophobic cages and corridors 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.

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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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