The Philadelphia Museum of Art has announced that it has jointly acquired, in partnership with the Pinault Collection in Venice, two major video works by artist Bruce Nauman. The institutions purchased Contrapposto Studies, I through VII, 2015–16, consisting of seven large-scale video projections, and Walks In Walks Out, 2015, a single-channel video work with sound.
“These two recent works together interrogate the ways in which our perception constructs—or distorts—our relation to reality,” Carlos Basualdo, Philadelphia Museum of Art’s senior curator of contemporary art, said. “They also work on multiple levels, drawing both from art history and from Nauman’s own biography.” Director and CEO Timothy Rub added, “These acquisitions underscore the museum’s commitment to presenting the most significant art of our time. I am delighted that these works have found a home here and in Europe, as Nauman continues to exert a strong influence on a younger generation of artists throughout the world.”
Known as a pioneer of performance art, durational practices, and time-based media, Nauman works across sculpture, sound, installation, film, and video. His output often questions what constitutes art, the possibilities and limitations of the performing body, and the relationship between language and meaning, subject and object, and viewer and participant.
Walks In Walks Out shows Nauman walking into and out of the view of the camera as he creates the work Contrapposto Studies, I through VII—one of his most ambitious projects. In the series of video projections, Nauman walks in contrapposto, rendering his body in both positive and negative and at times digitally, fragmented, and stacked.
François Pinault said, “Thanks to this joint acquisition, a major work by one the greatest artists of our time will be presented to a large international audience in the United States and Europe. Furthermore, this acquisition underlines the importance of Bruce Nauman’s works within Pinault Collection and the quality of the relationships Pinault Collection has built with the most important museums in the world.”