Bruce Nauman

American (born 1941)
Bruce Nauman Violins Violence Silence 1981 - 1982


Born 1941
Nationality American
Birth place Frenchtown

Bruce Nauman is considered one of the most influential artists working today. He was born in Indiana and initially studied Maths and Physics in Wisconsin, then Art in California. In 1965 he abandoned purely painting in favour of working in a variety of media. His work combines bodily consciousness, physical and mental activity, linguistic manipulation and humour. In his early work, Nauman made wax casts of his body, moving on to make sculptural installations, photographs, films and performance pieces. Although Nauman's work has been associated with various movements, including performance, conceptual and body art, it always eludes precise categorisation. He represented America at the 2009 Venice Biennale.

Glossary terms

  • An art practice developed in the second half of the twentieth  century that broke away from the view of a sculpture as a singular object to be looked at. Instead, installation artists create an environment that may surround the viewer. Many are temporary or created for a particular location.

  • Art practices from the 1960s onwards in which the human body forms the substance of the work. It is often manifest in performances which are documented by film or photography.