David Zwirner is pleased to present a selection of prints, books, and ephemera by Bruce Nauman that illustrates his ceaseless innovation. Encompassing three decades of the artist’s multifaceted practice, from 1969 to 1995, the works include rare publications, video, postcards, and portfolios, as well as lithographs, drypoints, and etchings. For Nauman, printmaking has long been an important mode for exploring language and material as it offers, according to the artist, a “directness," while also “allowing the technique to be a buffer between me and the image" and providing "a sense of ritualizing the image."1 A major survey, Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts, is currently on view at The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 in New York.
This selection encompasses collaborations with renowned printers and publishers including Gemini G.E.L., Cirrus Editions, Arber & Son Editions, and Brooke Alexander Editions; contributions to seminal artists’ books and portfolios such as Phil Weidman’s 1969 Slant Step Book and William Copley’s S.M.S. (Shit Must Stop) No. 5 (1968); and totems of Nauman’s career, including the seminal Pay Attention (1973) and irreverent Clown Taking a Shit (1988), which references his iconic multi-channel video installation Clown Torture (1987) where the artist explores the dynamics of humor and horror through the figure of the clown.
The Viewing Room also highlights the spirit of experimentation that is central to Nauman’s engagement with artistic identity and routine. "When I think about doing art, I think about it as an investigation of the function of an artist, or the function of myself as an artist," Nauman explained in 1989. "Each piece of work is a result of what I do in the studio every day, year by year."2
© 2018 Bruce Nauman / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
1 Bruce Nauman, as quoted in Christopher Cordes, "Talking with Bruce Nauman: An Interview" (1989), in Bruce Nauman: Prints 1970–89. A Catalogue Raisonné (New York: Castelli Graphics, 1989), p. 22.
2 Ibid., p. 34.
Image: Bruce Nauman, Raw-War, 1971 (detail)