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Studio Sunday: Bruce Nauman

Bruce Nauman standing in his very messy studio space


Happy Sunday! Today, let’s take a peek inside the studio of Bruce Nauman. Nauman’s artworks span a range of mediums and styles such as sculpture, photography, drawing and performance, and he has had a long career with plenty of time to explore all of these thoroughly.


In the 60’s, after he finished his education, Nauman was faced with the question that burdens every recent art school graduate: that is, what to do with one’s artistic career. Nauman decided that if he was working in his studio as an artist, then everything he produced in his studio space must, by default, be art. In the latter half of the 60’s Nauman used this idea as the basis for his pieces, where he would perform simple, mundane tasks such as playing the violin, bouncing a ball, or simply walking in an exaggerated manner and tape himself doing these activities in the studio space.


It’s interesting to look at photos of Nauman’s studio in the 60’s, when he would use his studio space as a stage for his simple performances. The studio space seemed quite clean and stark then. Nowadays, Nauman’s studio looks like a similar space, though over the years the clutter has apparently grown! In interviews Nauman has stated that he dislikes the idea of a perfectly clean, clinical studio space, and rather prefers a bit of messiness, only cleaning an area if he needs to space to create an artwork. I’ve been told that a messy workspace is a sign of great creativity, and it certainly seems true in this case.

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About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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