Setting a Good Example: Bruce Nauman in the Era of Misconceptualism
Bruce Nauman is a signal artist of his era due not only to the formal innovations and aesthetic subtlety of his multiform, multifarious, and polyvalent works but to the ethics undergirding his definition of the “true artist.” Against the backdrop of pervasive opportunism, over-production and sloppy thinking on the part of many ostensibly critical artists, abundant, not to mention gobsmacking mumbo-jumbo produced by supposedly rigorous commentators and the widespread confusion these two vectors of contemporary “discourse” collectively foster, this talk will address the basic parameters of Nauman's determination to stick by and stick up for the fundamentals of art as he has understood it from the beginning. His methods combine the spareness, frankness and clarity-extracted-from- ambiguity of his statements and the efficiency and efficacy of his facture. In short by "setting a good corner" he seeks to set a good example.
Robert Storr is an artist, critic and curator. From 2000 to 2012, he was Curator and then Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York. From 2002 to 2006, he served as the Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art at the Institute of New York University. Between 2006 and 2016 he was Dean of the Yale University School of Art, where he currently teaches as a Professor of Painting and Printmaking. Storr was briefly consulting curator of modern and contemporary art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and advised the William T. Kemper Foundation which acquired works by Jess, El Anatsui, Stanley Whitney, Richard Tuttle, Dorothea Tanning, Louise Bourgeois and others for the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City. The first American-born curator to be named Director of the Venice Biennale (2007), he has also organized exhibitions in Australia, Brazil, England, Japan, and Spain as well as throughout the United States. At MoMA he was responsible for retrospectives devoted to Robert Ryman, Chuck Close, Tony Smith, Gerhard Richter, Max Beckmann, and Elizabeth Murray. Among his many thematic shows at MoMA was Dislocations, a major 1991survey of installation art featuring new works by Louise Bourgeois, Chris Burden, Sophie Calle, David Hammons, Ilya Kabakov, Bruce Nauman, and Adrian Piper. The author of numerous books and catalogs, most notably the award-winning Intimate Geometries: The Work and Life of Louise Bourgeois (2016), his writing has appeared in Art in America, Artforum, Artpress, Corriere della Sera, Frieze, Parkett and the online edition of the New York Review of Books. In 1994, he contributed to the exhibition catalog and catalogue raisonné Bruce Nauman edited by Joan Simon, published in conjunction with a retrospective devoted to the artist at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and presented that exhibition at the MoMA in New York in 1995. In 1998 he put together a concise overview of the artist's work for the 24th São Paulo Biennial, and has since written about the artist on numerous occasions.