The Bruce Nauman picture gallery

Our forthcoming Nauman book will be the most comprehensive survey to date. Here's what we've got in store
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The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths (1967) - Bruce Nauman

1 / 11 The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths (1967) - Bruce Nauman

Nauman studio, Northern New Mexico	© Peter Bellamy

2 / 11 Nauman studio, Northern New Mexico © Peter Bellamy

Run from Fear, Fun from Rear (1972) - Bruce Nauman

3 / 11 Run from Fear, Fun from Rear (1972) - Bruce Nauman

A Rose Has No Teeth (Lead Tree Plaque) (1966) - Bruce Nauman

4 / 11 A Rose Has No Teeth (Lead Tree Plaque) (1966) - Bruce Nauman

Failing to Levitate in the Studio (1966) - Bruce Nauman

5 / 11 Failing to Levitate in the Studio (1966) - Bruce Nauman

Clown Torture (1987) - Bruce Nauman

6 / 11 Clown Torture (1987) - Bruce Nauman

A Cast of the Space under My Chair (1965-8) - Bruce Nauman

7 / 11 A Cast of the Space under My Chair (1965-8) - Bruce Nauman

The True Artist is An Amazing Luminous Fountain (1966) - Bruce Nauman

8 / 11 The True Artist is An Amazing Luminous Fountain (1966) - Bruce Nauman

Vices and Virtues, the U.S. Pavilion, the Venice Biennale of Art, 2009 - Bruce Nauman

9 / 11 Vices and Virtues, the U.S. Pavilion, the Venice Biennale of Art, 2009 - Bruce Nauman

One Hundred Live and Die (1984) - Bruce Nauman

10 / 11 One Hundred Live and Die (1984) - Bruce Nauman

Self-portrait as a Fountain from Eleven Color Photographs, 1966-7/70 - Bruce Nauman

11 / 11 Self-portrait as a Fountain from Eleven Color Photographs, 1966-7/70 - Bruce Nauman


"There's hardly an ounce of irony in Bruce Nauman, the person," writes the American critic and Nauman confidant Peter Plagens in our new book. This is a striking observation for an artist who is often regarded as difficult, and sometimes even willfully obtuse. Plagens, who first met Nauman in the early 1970s, admits that the highly influential American artist doesn't supply gallery-goers with the kind of entry-level thrills they might have come to expect. In our introduction, Plagens writes that "Nauman doesn't give them semi-standardized, logo-like images that, once the penny of hipness drops, they'd be happy to wear on a T-shirt from a museum gift shop."

Yet the 72 year old's films, sculptures, videos, drawings and performances have had an enormous influence on almost every sphere of contemporary art, bar painting. "A walkabout on any day through the galleries of Chelsea in New York, Culver City in southern California, the East and West End of London, the Mitte in Berlin, or the gallery neighbourhoods of a dozen other major cities," writes Plagens, "yields at least a handful of exhibitions of work by artists who are making, simply put, knock-off 'Naumans'."

How did this come about? And how should we understand his works today? This is something Plagens covers in his brilliantly researched book. Towards its end he concludes, "part of the reason why Nauman's art is so remarkable is that it's really not all that radical. It's art about the predicament of art, not about having ambitions to alter society. He recognizes that what serious artists - even the ostensibly radical ones - want is the orderliness of a good bourgeois life that will facilitate the making of art."

Of course, we can't explain everything here. To read the full text, you'll have to wait for until the book is published in May. Meantime, you can enjoy these images, and pre-order it from the people who made it, here.


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