Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1941, Bruce Nauman received his BS in mathematics, physics, music and visual art from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1964, and his MFA with an emphasis on sculpture from the University of California, Davis, in 1966. Nauman is widely regarded as among the most important living American artists and as a catalyst for the recent shift in international artistic practice toward conceptual and performative uses of language and the body. Since his first solo gallery show in 1966, Nauman has been the subject of many notable museum exhibitions. His first survey was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1972) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (1973).
A survey took place at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London in collaboration with the Kunsthalle Basel and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1986-1987). A major retrospective, co-organized by The Walker Art Center and the Hirshhorn Museum, opened at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, and travelled to Minneapolis; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Kunsthaus Zurich (1993-1995). Recent solo exhibitions include “Raw Materials,” commissioned for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall (2004), and “A Rose Has No Teeth: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s” at the Berkeley Art Museum, Castello di Rivoli, and Menil Collection (2007-2008). In 2015, the Fondation Cartier presented an exhibition focused on video and sound sculptures. “Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts,” a comprehensive retrospective, debuted at Schaulager, Basel (2018) and traveled to The Museum of Modern Art, New York and MoMA/P.S.1 (2018-2019).
Nauman received the Wolf Foundation Prize in Arts in 1993, the Wexner Prize in 1994, the Golden Lion at the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999, and the Praemium Imperiale in 2004 in Japan. Nauman represented the United States at the 2009 Venice Biennale; the pavilion was awarded the Golden Lion for Best National Participation. Nauman was the 2014 laureate of the Austrian Frederick Kiesler Prize. Since his first exhibition at Sperone Westwater in 1976, Nauman has exhibited regularly at the gallery (1982, 1984, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1996, 2002, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2020).