Nauman's retrospective in Basel brings social madness to light

The exhibition, in which psychological unrest is registered through the body, will appear next in Frankfurt


The latest body of work by Bruce Nauman, the internationally renowned American experimental artist, is a multi-media statement which explores social insanity and alienation. Born in 1941, Nauman has made contributions to Minimalism and Conceptual Art, and has exhausted the possibilities of traditional, film/video and high-tech media. The recent work continues his longstanding preoccupation with the fetishisation of the body. Not unlike the Eighties work of his peers, Robert Morris and Chris Burden, a political consciousness informs Nauman’s more recent investigations. Nauman creates stark representations here of the power of insanity through more than a dozen installations of stuffed animals and sculpted heads which evoke horrific mental instability. Included also is a video installation entitled “Learned Helplessness in Rats” and a piece which presents authoritarian commands of abnormal body positions.

The exhibition will be on show again in the Städtische Galerie in the Städel Kunstinstitut in Frankfurt from 1 June to 21 August, 1991. The catalogue has texts by Franz Meyer and Jörg Zutter, the exhibition organisers.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Nauman and social madness in Basel'