Another Venice Voice on Nauman


Early reviews of the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Bruce Nauman show in Venice were strongly positive. And then there's this from the Globe and Mail in Canada:

"The most talked-about event has been the retrospective trio of exhibitions by American artist Bruce Nauman (one show at the American Pavilion in the Giardini and two in secondary spaces off-site). Nauman's Giardini show, Topological Gardens, was awarded the Golden Lion for best national pavilion and included a number of the menacing works of black humour that have made his reputation: wax heads sprouting water jets as if riddled by bullets, sculptural animal fragments revolving on metal frames, some early video works suggesting states of emotional and physical extremity, and several of his shrilly comic neon sculptures – a distinctive blend of violence and strained hilarity.

"It's hard to get more American than this.

"But now that all the Prosecco bottles and plastic cups have been cleared away, it becomes easier to see that the show's organizers (Carlos Basualdo and Michael Taylor of the Philadelphia Museum of Art) had actually done a poor job of presenting his career. Nauman's work is never unimpressive, but the selection of works felt oddly unfocused, with the earlier works on view failing to connect meaningfully with what was to come. As well, Nauman's new sound work made for the occasion, Giorno (a polyphonic incantation of the days of the week, spoken in Italian), was weak. If you knew Nauman well already, fine. If not, you might have missed the point of him."

Well, I guess the museum won't be trumpeting that clip. Here's the whole review.