NewsGlobal artist Bruce Nauman comes to the Tate Modern

September 29, 20200
A major new exhibition will display neon works by Bruce Nauman


More than 40 works by the American artist Bruce Nauman are going on display at the Tate Modern (7 Oct-21 Feb 2021).

The artist

As well as sculpture, sound, film and video, Nauman works with neon – making him a hit on Instagram. The artist was inspired by a neon advertisement left over in his studio in San Francisco.

Previous exhibitions

Nauman’s first solo exhibition was in Los Angeles in 1966. Since then, highlights of his 50-year career have included international tours, exhibitions at London’s Whitechapel Gallery and Hayward Gallery and retrospectives at the Whitney Museum of American Art and The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

This new exhibition at the Tate Modern is a series of immersive installations in a non-chronological order.

Black Marble Under Yellow Light © Tate Modern
Tate Modern highlights

In the opening room, you’ll get to see the 2001 moving-image installation Mapping the Studio II with Color Shift, Flip, Flop & Flip/Flop (Fat Chance John Cage).

In addition to the 2001 work, the room will also display some of his earliest pieces. These include the 1967-70 cast iron creation Henry Moore Bound to Fail and the 1965-68 concrete block A Cast of the Space Under My Chair.

Neon works

Chances are you’ll visit to see his neon work. Highlights include the 1967 handwritten text The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truth (Window or Wall Sign). Human Nature Knows/Doesn’t Know (1983-86) and One Hundred Live and Die (1984) are also made up of text formed out of neon lights.

One Hundred Live and Die © Tate Modern
Large-scale works

In addition to Nauman’s neon works, no doubt his large-scale works will attract big visitor numbers, too.

Pieces include the 1992 video projection Anthro/Socio (Rinde Spinning) and the 1981-88 work Black Marble Under Yellow Light, which manipulates space and light.

Look out for hidden cameras in Going Around the Corner Piece with Live and Taped Monitors (1970) and prepare to feel uneasy inside Double Steel Cage Piece (1974). Despite both pieces dating from the 70s, the topics they address – surveillance and societal control – are as timely as ever.

Meanwhile, the theme of surveillance extends to the installation Shadow Puppets and Instructed Mime (1990), which fills a whole room. The eerie mixed media piece is made up of suspended wax heads, while a male voice gives commands to a female mime projected onto the walls.

Last but not least, the 1993 piece Falls, Pratfalls and Sleights of Hand (Clean Version) is another video projection, which is saved for the final room in the exhibition.


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