View of “A Rose Has No Teeth: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s,” 2007, University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA. Photo: Ben Blackwell.

“Bruce Nauman in the 1960s”

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)

SOME FORTY-ODD YEARS after Bruce Nauman began tweaking the conventions of studio practice and the hallowed persona of the artist-as-seer, his station in postwar art history rests secure. His influence—whether through his affectless, task-based performances, his sculptural castings of negative space, or his intermedia mash-ups of language, video, and noise—is everywhere apparent in contemporary art. Nauman’s reputation is, in short, not at issue today; what remains unsettled is the specific nature of his contribution. Recent scholarship has made significant developments in complicating his particular story. Janet Kraynak’s 2005 collection of Nauman’s writings and interviews, Please Pay Attention Please: Bruce Nauman’s Words, for example, opposes the simplistic notion that Nauman is the pluralist artist par excellence, instead revealing him to be an artist systematic in working

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