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Truth in art: Bruce Nauman

Catch the last days of his first retrospective in 25 years at MoMA.

Installation view, Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts at MoMA PS1, New York (through February 25, 2019, at MoMA and MoMA PS1). © 2018 Bruce Nauman/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Digital image © 2018 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo: Martin Seck

In an age increasingly defined by ‘fake news’, the disappearance of journalism, aversions to searching for truth and the resulting erosion of standards, it’s never been a better time to explore art exhibitions that ask difficult questions — and often offer more difficult and sometimes painful answers.

The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 present the first comprehensive retrospective in 25 years devoted to the work of American artist Bruce Nauman (b. 1941), on view at The Museum of Modern Art, through February 18, 2019, and at MoMA PS1, through February 25, 2019.

As the museum explains, Nauman has spent half a century inventing forms to convey both the moral hazards and the thrill of being alive. Employing a tremendous range of materials and working methods, he reveals how mutable experiences of time, space, movement, and language provide an unstable foundation for understanding our place in the world. For Nauman, both making and looking at art involve “doing things that you don’t particularly want to do, putting yourself in unfamiliar situations, following resistances to find out why you’re resisting.” At a time when the notion of truth feels increasingly under attack, his work compels viewers to relinquish the safety of the familiar, keeping us alert, ever vigilant, and wary of being seduced by easy answers.

Co-organized by The Museum of Modern Art and Laurenz Foundation, Schaulager Basel, Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts draws upon the rich holdings of both institutions and nearly 70 lenders. Encompassing Nauman’s full career and featuring a total of 165 works, the exhibition occupies the Museum’s entire sixth floor and the whole of MoMA PS1. This joint presentation will provide an opportunity to experience Nauman’s command of a wide range of mediums, from drawing, printmaking, photography, and sculpture to neon, performance, film and video, and architecturally scaled environments. – Joanne Molina




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