Bruce Nauman has been a force in the art world since the early 1960s with his challenging audio and video installations, photographic art, neon art, and sculptures. However, until now there has been surprisingly little sustained critical analysis of his extraordinary oeuvre.
Nauman Reiterated offers the first scholarly assessment of the artist’s production with an in-depth thematic investigation of key works created between the mid-1960s and mid-1970s. Janet Kraynak argues that the coherence of Nauman’s art can be found not in conventional categorizations of style, medium, or technique, but through understanding the artistic and cultural conditions that led to an interdisciplinary aesthetic of performance, which emerged in relation to technologies of reproduction, inscription, and recording. Kraynak provides a portrait of an artist who regularly defies expectations and genres, showing how Nauman’s work responds to historical problems that have only increased in importance since he first addressed them, especially the technologization of society initiated by electronic media.
Nauman’s reaction to the technological takeover of modern society, Kraynak suggests, is reiteration. Building from these observations, Kraynak explores how performance is intimately associated with the acceleration toward a fully technological society, which sees new modes of electronic recording and reproduction, the growth of information technologies, and the consolidation of technocracy.
Through extensive archival research Kraynak has written a revealing examination of Nauman’s thought-provoking and protean work.