Bruce Nauman «Cones Cojones» 1973–75.

submitted on Tue, 2006-04-04 19:01. | | |


In Cones Cojones, Bruce Nauman used masking tape to redraw the topography of the gallery. The concentric arcs limned on the floor are meant to represent cross-sections of giant cones that begin at the center of the earth and project into the universe, immersing the viewer at their disorienting core.
A disjunctive text of fragmentary typewritten phrases pasted on two large sheets of paper accompanies the graphic floor piece. Syllogisms riddled with wordplays, snippets of stream-of-consciousness ramblings, and quasi-scientific statements are randomly juxtaposed «like a bunch of fortune cookies lying on a dinner table.» Slipping seamlessly from «Let's talk about control» to «We are talking about control,» an anonymous interlocutor finally commands, «Placate my art.» If, in the past, Nauman posited the artist as a seer or visionary - the revealer of 'mystic truths' - more recently he has offered a far more sinister paradigm, authoritarian, manipulative, implacable. ~ Lynne Cooke

Spinning Spheres, 1970, loop, B&W
In Bruce Nauman's film installation Spinning Spheres (1970), the viewer's perception of space is disorientated by giant, reflective steel spheres spinning on all four walls of the gallery. After three minutes, each sphere slows to a halt. Its shiny metallic surface, like a concave mirror, reflects an image of a stable space similar to that occupied by the viewer, in which Nauman, film camera pointed towards the viewer, briefly appears, before the spinning resumes. This alternation between stable and disorienting environments creates a split in our perception of 'real' and projected space.
(«Into the Light» exhibition 2001 Whitney Museum of American Art, 2002 Cleveland Museum of Art)