Bruce Nauman (born 1941) is a contemporary American artist. His pluralistic practice spans a broad range of media including sculpture, photography, neon, video, drawing and performance.
Much of his work is characterised by an interest in language which often manifests itself in a playful, mischievous manner. For example, the neon 'Run From Fear- Fun From Rear', or the photograph 'Bound To Fail' which literalises the title phrase and shows the artist's arms tied behind his back. There are however, very serious concerns at the heart of the work. Nauman seems to be interested in the nature of communication and the inherent problems of language, as well as the role of the artist as supposed communicator and manipulator of visual language.
He is widely acknowledged as one of the most important living artists.
Some of his better-known works include:
Clown Torture - in separate stacked video screens, a clown screaming "No" repeatedly, a clown telling an annoying child's joke, a clown balancing goldfish bowls, and a clown sitting on a public toilet.
Vices and Virtues - Atop a laboratory building at University of California San Diego, neon signs seven feet tall, alternating the seven vices and seven virtues: FAITH/LUST, HOPE/ENVY, CHARITY/SLOTH, PRUDENCE/PRIDE, JUSTICE/AVARICE, TEMPERANCE/GLUTTONY, and FORTITUDE/ANGER.
The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths - a spiraling neon sign with this slogan.
Setting a Good Corner - looping video of the artist setting a corner fencepost.
World Peace - five projectors or video players displaying four women and a man each speaking simultaneous monologues about world peace.