press release

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Bruce Nauman in Basel and New York
kunstaspekte-Special (only in german)


For the first time in over 20 years, Bruce Nauman will be the subject of a comprehensive retrospective. Schaulager and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York have joined forces to realize a large-scale exhibition on the American artist, who ranks as one of the most influential creative figures of our time. Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts spans the artist’s entire career from the 1960s to the present.

Schaulager and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, present the first comprehensive retrospective of the work of Bruce Nauman (b. 1941) in over two decades. He is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential artists of our time. The large-scale exhibition expands upon the significant holdings of MoMA and the collection of the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation, whose works are stored at Schaulager. Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts provides the international art world with a long-awaited opportunity to rediscover the full spectrum of the American artist’s work in a wide range of mediums, from early performances recorded on film and video to drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture and neon to installations.

The retrospective is the most extensive survey of the Midwest-born, New Mexico-based artist to ever be staged. The show brings together rarely exhibited pieces along with renowned key works. It allows a look back at a career lasting more than half a century, which—although Nauman has consistently pursued the same questions—has been marked by astounding transformations. Over the decades, Bruce Nauman has repeatedly managed to assume a pioneering role—whether through his interest in the latest developments in media technology or by exploring contentious social issues. These are just some of the attributes that explain his special status in the contemporary art scene and contribute to his lasting relevance.

Disappearing Acts traces strategies of withdrawal in Nauman’s work—both literal and figurative incidents of removal, deflection, and concealment. With a keen eye, he investigates the experience of one’s own body and its relation to space. His works often have the character of simple laboratory tests or critical self-interrogations.

Richly-illustrated catalogue
A richly-illustrated catalogue will be published under the same title with essays on themes that have previously been neglected in the scholarship on Nauman’s work. In addition, Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts is accompanied by an events programme and a diverse art education programme. Activities are geared to the general public as well as private groups, schools and universities.

Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts is on view from March 17 to August 26, 2018 at Schaulager in Basel. The retrospective subsequently travels to New York, where it will be presented at The Museum of Modern Art from October 21, 2018 to March 17, 2019 and MoMA PS1 from October 21, 2018 to March 24, 2019.

Organized by Laurenz Foundation, Schaulager Basel and The Museum of Modern Art, New York

The exhibition is organized by Kathy Halbreich, Laurenz Foundation Curator and Advisor to the Director, The Museum of Modern Art; with Heidi Naef, Chief Curator, and Isabel Friedli, Curator, Schaulager, Basel; and Magnus Schaefer, Assistant Curator, and Taylor Walsh, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints, The Museum of Modern Art.