About Bruce Nauman

Bruce Nauman was born on December 6, 1941 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. After receiving his MFA from the University of California, Davis, in 1966, Nauman settled initially in San Francisco, where he had worked as an assistant for Wayne Thiebaud. Shortly before graduation, the Nicholas Wilder Gallery in Los Angeles held Nauman’s first solo exhibition in 1966. From 1966 to 1968, Nauman taught at the San Francisco Art Institute and, in 1970, at the University of California at Irvine. After moving briefly to Pasadena in 1969, Nauman eventually settled in Galisteo, New Mexico, where he continues to live and work today. He has explored and worked with almost every medium, claiming, “I’ve never been able to stick to one thing.” Since his early years, Nauman has long been interested in language, and his prints and other artwork often feature provocative phrases, word play, or the literal depiction of certain phrases and sayings. In general, most of these works are mischievous and deal with dark humor or subjects. In 1968, he was invited for the first time to participate in documenta 4 in Kassel, and received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts that enabled him to work in New York for one year. In 1972, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, organized the first solo museum exhibition of the his work, which traveled in Europe and the United States. The artist took a brief hiatus from two-dimensional work in the 1970s and early 1980s, focusing more on time-based works, and is considered an integral member of the Process Art Movement. Since the mid-1980s through today, Nauman returned to his paintings, sculpture, and printmaking, creating a prolific body of work that has been collected and exhibited at museums and galleries across the country. His long career was the subject of a major retrospective at MoMA and MoMA PS1 in 2018.