Nauman at SITE Santa Fe

Featuring a collection of new and recent video installations, Bruce Nauman: His Mark at SITE Santa Fe captures the nuances of Bruce Nauman’s daring career.

Nauman infuses intense personal elements by incorporating his body into his art, expressing rawness. The exhibition unveiles a striking video work, “Self-Portrait at 80” (2022), depicting Nauman’s body’s contortions in homage to ancient Greek sculptures. 

Nauman’s artistic evolution is a story of transformation. From being initially dismissed as an exponent of “psychic primitivism,” he has emerged as a luminary of his artistic generation. Over the span of five decades, Nauman has displayed an astonishing mastery across a multitude of mediums, ranging from video and performance to sculpture.

In this creative odyssey, Nauman has ventured into the innovative use of materials as diverse as wax, neon, and the humble pencil. His innovation has reverberated in contemporary art circles, setting a trailblazing precedent by melding different mediums into a harmonious whole.

Nauman’s emergence during a time of critical introspection on the nature of art was propitious. He steered art into a new direction, elevating the concept above the final artifact, and essentially redefining art as an immersive and dynamic process. This seismic shift from the traditional paradigm paved the way for art to be an experience. His approach found kinship with conceptualists of his era, such as Sol LeWitt and Lawrence Weiner, who championed the idea that the essence of art lay in the concept itself.

What sets Nauman apart is his persistent defiance of conventional norms. He treads the uncharted territory of discomfort, deliberately unsettling viewers. Works like “Carousel,” with its uncanny taxidermy forms dragged by mechanical arms, and corridor installations suffused with surveillance undertones, evoke a palpable sense of unease. Nauman’s artistic vocabulary is often an exploration of the visceral emotions that reside beneath the surface.

Featured Image: Bruce Nauman: His Mark (installation view) at SITE Santa Fe. Photo by Shayla Blatchford. Courtesy of Bruce Nauman / Artists Rights Society. Source: SITE Santa Fe


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