Bruce Nauman: Contrapposto Studies
Erica F. Battle, The John Alchin and Hal Marryatt Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art
This talk will examine Bruce Nauman’s latest works, concentrating on the momentous and monumental seven-projection video and sound installation Contrapposto Studies, I through VII(2015/2016), which recently premiered at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Repeating and fragmenting images of the artist walking in the manner of contrapposto - Italian for “counterpose”—this momentous work both revisits an earlier video work, Walk with Contrappostoof 1968, and innovates new conceptual, compositional, and technological territory within the artist’s practice. Taking into consideration the relationship between this installation with Nauman’s early experiments in film, video, and sculpture of the mid-to-late 1960s, the lecture will trace the lineage of the artist’s use of proportional ideals, art historical motifs, and elements of sound that inform his oeuvre in which his body is constantly at work. It will also broaden the usual field of reference within the art historian’s analysis of Nauman’s career to delve into earlier connections within the history of art—including Renaissance-era representations and Greek Classical sculpture—that his late works wryly and incisively invoke. This lecture prefigures the upcoming publication Bruce Nauman: Contrapposto Studiesco-edited by Erica F. Battle and Carlo Basualdo, to be published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press in Winter 2018.
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