PRINT Summer 1986

Entrance, Entrapment, Exit: The Process of Bruce Nauman

The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths.

BRUCE NAUMAN IS NOT INTERESTED in “adding to a collection of things that are art,” as he puts it, but in “investigating the possibilities of what art may be.”1 Where his inquiry will lead next is impossible to predict, since he goes about it in a meandering way, and, like Samuel Beckett’s character Molloy, will always be “back in the saddle again.” The route he takes may not be the “right” one, but for him the “wrong” road can be just as much of a discovery.

Nauman’s education is a case in point. Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1941, he grew up in Wisconsin and went to college there, initially studying mathematics and physics. It was, he realized, the “wrong” thing. For a short time he performed as a jazz bass player—he had studied classical guitar and a little piano since childhood—and the next courses he took were in music theory

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