Monday, August 31, 2015

Archive: June, 2009

POSTED: Wednesday, June 3, 2009, 9:53 AM

VENICE - A few of the nearly three dozen works in the Bruce Nauman show opening at the Venice Biennale are not the original works themselves, but second editions refabricated with the permission of the owners.

Among them are the Vices and Virtues neon ringing the top of the U.S. Pavilion, and, at the Universita Iuav di Venezia at Tolentini, Pink and Yellow Light Corridor (Variable Lights) from 1972 (pictured).

The creation of an "exhibition copy" allows everyone to have their cake and eat it, too. The owner gets the prestige factor of the work having been shown at the Biennale without having run the risk of damage by transporting it (neon is especially fragile). And exhibition organizers, in this case the Philadelphia Museum of Art, can have the works they want represented.

POSTED: Tuesday, June 2, 2009, 10:54 AM

VENICE - The Philadelphia Museum of Art has successfully Naumanized Venice. The U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale is overflowing with work of American artist Bruce Nauman. The Biennale doesn't open officially for another few days, but Art Museum curator Carlos Basualdo took me on a tour today, and it's an impressive use of a small space.

One room is filled with an elegant sea of sculptures, Fifteen Pairs of Hands, from 1996. Another contains a disturbing installation from 1988 called Hanging Carousel (George Skins A Fox) in which foam animal figures rotate while a video monitor shows exactly what the title promises.

The Pavilion installation gives Nauman's work an impressive exterior presence. The iconic neon The True Artist Helps the World By Revealing Mystic Truths faces out of the building through a window, emphasizing the medium's roots in advertising. The work, from 1967, was recently acquired by the Art Museum, and was the thin end of the wedge for the museum's involvement with Nauman.

About this blog

Peter Dobrin is a classical music critic and culture writer for The Inquirer. Since 1989, he has written music reviews, features, news and commentary for the paper, covering such topics as the Philadelphia Museum of Art at the Venice Biennale, expansion of the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia Orchestra's bankruptcy declaration in 2011, Philadelphia's evolving performing arts center and the general health of arts and culture.

Dobrin was a French horn player. He earned an undergraduate degree in performance from the University of Miami, and received a master's degree in music criticism from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Elliott Galkin. He has no time to practice today.

Reach Peter at pdobrin@phillynews.com.

Peter Dobrin Inquirer Classical Music Critic
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
letter icon Newsletter