Bruce Nauman (American, b.1941) is an artist known for his use of diverse materials and mediums to create installations, sculptures, and a variety of other conceptually based works. Primary concerns in his work include language, wordplay, miscommunication, social spaces, and studio practice. Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Nauman originally studied mathematics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, eventually shifting his focus towards art, and received his BFA in 1964. Two years later Nauman received his MFA from the University of California, Davis in 1966, where he studied under the artist William T. Wiley.

Generally recognized as one of the most important and influential artists of the 1970s, he was a central figure in the development of Post-Minimal and Conceptual art, and a pioneer in the use of neon and video in art. Primary concerns in his work include language, wordplay, miscommunication, and the nature of social spaces. He currently lives and works in New Mexico with his fellow artist and spouse, Susan Rothenberg.

Timeline

1941
Born in Fort Wayne, USA
1960–1964
University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA
1964–1966
MFA, University of California, Davis, USA
1966–1968
Taught at San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, USA
NEA Grant, Artistic Fellowship Award, Washington, D.C.
1970
Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies Grant
Taught sculpture, University of California, Irvine, USA
1986
Skowhegan Award, Skowhegan, USA
1989
Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the San Francisco Art Institute
Married artist Susan Rothenberg
1991
Max Beckmann Award from the City of Frankfurt, Germany
1993
Wexner Prize
Wolf Foundation Prize in Arts (Sculpture), Herzlia, Israel
Alumni Citation for Excellence, University of California, Davis
1995
Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Cambridge, USA
Aldrich Prize, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, USA
1997
Member, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Germany
1999
Leone d'oro (The Golden Lion), 48th Venice Biennale, Italy
2000
Member, American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, USA
Honorary Doctor of Arts, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, USA
2004
Praemium Imperiale Prize for Visual Arts, Japan
Beaux-Arts Magazine Art Awards: Best International Artist, Paris, France
2009
American representative to the 2009 Venice Biennale, Italy
Lives and works near Galisteo, USA

Exhibitions

2013
55th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy
Video Vintage 1963-1983, Beirut Art Center, Beirut, Lebanon
Tenth Anniversary Acquisitions, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, USA
Bruce Nauman, Göteborgs Konstmuseum, Gothenburg, Sweden (solo)
Move: Art And Dance Since 1960s, National Museum of Contemporary Art Korea, Gwacheon, Korea
Besser scheiter: Film + Video, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany
2012
Days, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, England (solo)
Inside the White Cube, White Cube, London, England (solo)
Infrared Outtakes, Soft Ground Etchings, and Crossbeams, Galeria La Caja Negra, Madrid, Spain (solo)
2011
Der Wahre Künstler, Kunsthalle Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany (solo)
Für Kinder / Beschriebene Kombinationen, Konrad Fischer Galerie Berlin, Berlin, Germany (solo)
Combinations Described (Chicago), Donald Young Gallery, Chicago, USA (solo)
2010
Bruce Nauman's Works: Musée d'Art Contemporain Lyon, Lyon, France (solo)
Pay Attention... Prints and Multiples 1971-2007, James Kelly Contemporary, Santa Fe, USA (solo)
Video Screening 2: Bruce Nauman, Center for Contemporary Art, Kitakyushu, Japan (solo)
Bruce Nauman: Dream Passage, Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, Germany (solo)
Bruce Nauman: Dance or Exercise on the Perimeter of a Square, Neues Museum Weserburg Bremen, Bremen, Germany (solo)
Bruce Nauman’s Days, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (solo)
For Children / For Beginners, Sperone Westwater, New York, USA (solo)
Days and Giorni, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA
2009
1968. Die große Unschuld, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany
Nie/No, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland (solo)
Drawings for Neons, Craig F. Starr Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
Artist Rooms, Tramway, Glasgow, Scotland (solo)
Dead Shot Dan, Contemporary Art Museum St Louis, St Louis, USA (solo)
Diamond Mind Circle of Tears Fallen All Around Me, Peter Freeman, Inc., New York, USA (solo)
U.S. Pavilion, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy
Heavy Metal, Kunsthalle Kiel, Kiel, Germany
Ich kann mir nicht jeden Tag ein Ohr abschneiden, Nationalgalerie Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Germany
Minimal is More, Sammlung Lafrenz, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Netherlands
2008
Beautiful People, Centre d'Art la Panera, Lerida, Colombia
Body Work, Le Case d'Arte, Milan, Italy
Bruce Nauman: Fingers and Holes, Meessen de Clercq, Brussels, Belgium
Elusive Signs: Bruce Nauman Works with Light, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, California (solo)
Bruce Nauman: Fonte de cem peixes, 2005, Museu de Arte Contemporanea, Porto, Portugal (solo)
Bruce Nauman: Drawings for Installations, Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
2007
A Rose has no Teeth: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s, The Menil Collection, Houston, USA (solo)
Bruce Nauman: one hundred fish fountain, Kestner Gesellschaft Hannover, Hannover, Germany (solo)
Elusive Signs: Bruce Nauman Works, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, USA (solo)
Bruce Nauman, Musée d´art contemporain de Montréal, Montreal, Canada (solo)
Fokus: Bruce Nauman, Museum für Gegenwartskunst - Emanuel Hoffmann-Stiftung, Basel, Switzerland (solo)
Elusive Signs: Bruce Nauman Works with Light, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, USA (solo)
A Rose Has No Teeth: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, USA (solo)
2006
Elusive Signs: Bruce Nauman works with light, Museum of Contemporary Art - North Miami, Miami, USA (solo)
Bruce Naumann, Museo D'Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina, Naples, Italy (solo)
Bruce Nauman - Mental Exercises, NRW-Forum Kultur und Wirtschaft, Düsseldorf, Germany (solo)
Bruce Nauman, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, England (solo)
Elusive Signs: Bruce Nauman's Works with Light, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, USA (solo)
Elusive Signs: Bruce Nauman Works with Light, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, USA (solo)
Renegades 25 Years of Performance at Exit Art, Exit Art, New York, USA
2005
Bruce Nauman, Samuel Vanhoegaerden Gallery, Knokke-Heist, Belgium (solo)
Bruce Nauman – Druckgrafik aus öffentlichen Schweizer Sammlungen, Bündner Kunstmuseum Chur, Chur, Switzerland (solo)
Pay Attention: Bruce Nauman videos from the collection of Barbara Balkin Cottle, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, USA (solo)
Mapping The Studio: Bruce Nauman Video Works, National Gallery of Victoria International, Melbourne, Australia (solo)
Bruce Nauman, Galerie Lelong, Paris, France (solo)
The Unilever Series: Bruce Nauman, Tate Modern, London, England (solo)
Bruce Nauman: Setting a Good Corner (Allegory & Metaphor), Power House, Memphis, USA (solo)
2003
Bruce Nauman, Mapping the Studio I (Fat Chance John Cage), Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany (solo)
Bruce Nauman: Theaters of Experience, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Germany (solo)
Bruce Nauman, Mapping the Studio I (Fat Chance John Cage), Dia Center for the Arts, New York, USA (solo)
Bruce Nauman, Mapping the Studio II (Fat Chance John Cage), Sperone Westwater, New York, USA (solo)
Bruce Nauman, All Action Edit - Mapping the Studio I, Office Edit I, Office Edit II with Color Shift, Flip, Flop & Flip/Flop, Konrad Fischer Galerie, Düsseldorf, Germany (solo)
Bruce Nauman, Mapping the Studio II (Fat Chance John Cage), Museum für Gegenwartskunst Basel, Switzerland (solo)
2001
Selected Work, Zwirner & Wirth, New York, USA (solo)
2000
Samuel Beckett/Bruce Nauman, Kunsthalle Wien Karsplatz, Vienna, Austria
1997–1999
Bruce Nauman: Image/Text, 1966-1996, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
1993–1995
Bruce Nauman, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA
1990
Bruce Nauman: Skulpturen und Installationen, 1985-1990, Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland
1986–1987
Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, England (solo)
Bruce Nauman, Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland
Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville, Paris, France (solo)
1985
Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (solo)
1982–1983
Bruce Nauman: Neons, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, USA
1972–1974
Bruce Nauman: Work from 1965-1972, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA
1968
Bruce Nauman, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
6 Day Week: 6 Sound Problems, Konrad Fischer Galerie, Düsseldorf, Germany (solo)
1966
Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, USA (solo)

Public Collections

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Tate Gallery, London, England
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY