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Bruce Nauman
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Bruce Nauman

Born in 1941 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Bruce Nauman has been recognized since the early 1970s as one of the most innovative and provocative of America’s contemporary artists. He works in a diverse range of media including sculpture, video, film, neon, printmaking, performance and installation. Nauman continually questions and reinvents his artistic practice, concentrating less on the development of a characteristic style and more on the way in which a process or activity can transform or become a work of art.

Confronted with ‘What to do?’ in his studio soon after graduating, Nauman had the simple but profound realization that if he is an artist, everything he does in the studio is art. This early revelation is fundamental to understanding his creative output, and particularly relevant to an exploration of Mapping the Studio where the artist’s immediate environment – his studio - becomes the subject of the art.

Bruce Nauman in his studio in Galisteo, New Mexico, photographed by Juergen Teller © Juergen Teller “If I was an artist and I was in the studio, then whatever I was doing in the studio must be art."

Bruce Nauman in his studio in New Mexico, photographed by Juergen Teller © Juergen Teller

VIDEO - Bruce Nauman discusses finding inspiration in his studio

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Biography

Nauman graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1964 with a BFA, and went on to study at the University of California, Davis, where he was awarded an MFA in 1996.

He had his first solo exhibition in 1966 and has exhibited widely since the 1970s. In 1981, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, organized major retrospective exhibition of his work which travelled to many venues throughout America and Europe from 1993 to 1995. In 1998 a major solo exhibition of his work, Bruce Nauman: Image/Text 1966-96, travelled to the Hayward Gallery, London. 

Nauman lives and works in New Mexico.

Explore other Nauman works on Tate Online

In his recent installation, Raw Materials, 2004 the fifth commission in the Unilever Series at Tate Modern, Nauman explores his interests in speech and language. In this work he re-used 22 recordings of texts from earlier works spanning almost 40 years of his career.  For more about this piece, click here and also read the interview by Robert Storr in Tate ETC.

Tate also owns over 30 other works by Bruce Nauman, including Corridor with Mirrors and White Lights 1971, Three Dead End Adjacent Tunnels, Not Connected 1981 and Violent Incident 1986.  To explore these works further, enter ‘Bruce Nauman’ in the Artist Name field on the Tate Collection page.

Bruce Nauman Corridor with Mirrors and White Lights (1971)

-Bruce Nauman Corridor with Mirrors and White Lights (1971)
Tate © ARS, New York and DACS, London, 2002