PRINT December 1970


Experience shows that human beings are not passive components in adaptive systems. Their responses commonly manifest themselves as acts of personal creation.

—René Dubos, Man Adapting

SINCE HIS FIRST PROVOCATIVE New York exhibition at the Castelli Gallery in 1968, Nauman’s work has become increasingly complex. We are no longer able to take refuge in art-historical analogies to Duchampian esthetics or reference to visual affinities with the work.of Johns, Oldenburg, or “process” art. Nauman’s roughly-built acoustical and performance corridors; his elusive camera/monitor pieces; his unenterable channels of air current; “dance” pieces and slow-motion single image films—all seem to defy our habitual esthetic expectations. To encounter one of these pieces is to experience basic phenomena that have been isolated, inverted, taken out of context, or progressively destroyed.

Nauman does not represent

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