Wednesday Art ATTACK- Bruce Nauman "Modern Matter"
Posted on July 22 2015
Bruce Nauman was born on December 6th 1941 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Nauman was part of a new generation of artists who work consisted of many different types of media from Sculpture and drawing to neon and video. Growing up Nauman's father was an engineer for General Electric and taught him a lot about construction and the inner workings of technology at a young age. After high school he went on to study mathematics as well as physics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He then decided to study art at the University California, Davis where he initially studied painting but then turned fully to sculpture and performance art.
Graduating Davis with his MFA in sculpture he taught at the San Francisco Art Institute for two years while also securing a studio and signing with the dealer Leo Castelli. While working in his studio in the Mission District of San Francisco he had a strange epiphany that led to a new way of making and viewing art; "If I was an artist and i was in the studio, then whatever I was doing in the studio must be art". This view held by a handful of other artists led to the new concept that art is more about the activity or action of doing the task than the final product. Nauman began making videos of himself exploring these actions in the studio to push to potential of what art could be. He also began working with Neon signs which he became known for in the late 1960's. These neon works dealt with conveying moods through words and light, and also emphasized Nauman's interest on exploring language in playful and mischievous ways in his work.
In the early 1970's Nauman began constructing claustrophobic tight spaces and rooms that were to be entered by viewers to evoke feeling of being lost or encaged. This physiological series led him into working from his own dreams and in the 1980's he worked on a series he titled Dream Passage. This series dealt with the obscurity of dreams with underlying psycho sexual undertones and Fruedian Concepts.
From the 1980's up to the present Nauman has dealt with sculpture and video. The artists has also developed disturbing physiological themes into his work by incorporating disturbing images and body parts into his work. Now living in Pasadena, California Nauman is still producing art in various media and exhibiting shows throughout Los Angeles and New York.