PRINT April 1995

Cousin Brucie

A stainless steel and glass frame makes almost anything you stick in it look like art; it authenticates as art even the most negligible effort. The museum context does the same thing for a whole oeuvre; there is almost nothing you can put in the crisp, professional space of the County Museum which will not look profound.

Peter Plagens, “Roughly Ordered Thoughts on the Occasion of the Bruce Nauman Retrospective in Los Angeles,” Artforum, March 1973

HEY, I WAS PRETTY PRESCIENT. That article was written 22 years ago, and a third of the paragraphs still stand up about as well as that one. It didn’t occur to me, however, until I reread that piece in order to write this one that my paragraphs were trying to be the equivalent of Bruce Nauman’s works. My article was trying to be the equivalent of his show. My appearance in Artforum was trying to be the equivalent of his appearance at the County

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