Lot 4: BRUCE NAUMAN (b. 1941)
Contemporary Art Part One
May 15, 2001
New York, NY, USA
BRUCE NAUMAN (b. 1941)
neon tubing with clear glass
tubing suspension frame
11 by 36 3/4 by 2 1/8 in. 27.9 by 93.3 by 5.4cm.
Executed in 1983, this sculpture is unique.
Leo Castelli Gallery, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above in 1986
Neal Benezra, et. al., Bruce Nauman: Catalogue RaisonnE, Minneapolis, 1995, cat. no. 316, illustrated
Bruce Nauman: NONO. Blue + White / adjacent / Neon alternate
flashing No / 1 sec. No/repeat / Red + White and Blue + White, 1983
Bruce Nauman expresses a profound empathy with the human condition in the modern and post-modern world, utilizing a kind of Wittgenstein linguistic game of text and meaning. "No" is an integral member of Nauman's lexicon of language, embodying the power of authority, and the contradictory essence of human existence. The neon NoNo is the first appearance of this word in Nauman's oeuvre. The blue and white letters, in insistent roman type, remain consistently lit. The red and white letters, in pliant italic type, blink on and off.
The subsequent uses of "no" appear in various Nauman videos, most famously in Clown Torture and Clown Torture (I'm Sorry and No, No, No, No), both of 1987. In each a clown shouts "no" in various intonations, concurrent or
simultaneous to other loops of repetitive dialogue or actions, emphasizing the frustrations of man's existence.Property from an American Corporate Collection