New York

Bruce Nauman

Sperone Westwater

Bruce Nauman’s work is important for proposing a departure from that impasse of conceptualism, the belief in the self’s authority over language, in its ability to control and define. Since the late ’60s, through punning and anagram pieces contemporaneous with works involving physical forms, Nauman has explored transformations in language that problematize meaning, revealing the arbitrariness of its assignment to words. These seemingly playful works demonstrate the abstractness of the sign, indicating that it has no inherent relation to a signified. In his more recent practice Nauman appears to delve more deeply into this questioning of meaning, to the point where it renders problematic the possibility of ideas.

This two-gallery exhibition consisted of a deceptively heterogeneous assortment of works. In the Sperone Westwater space Nauman showed a suspended-chair piece, a series of carved

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