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The Art of JAMA |

Face Mask Bruce Nauman

Carrie A. Butt
JAMA. 2016;316(7):694-695. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.14434.
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When critics assess the work of Bruce Nauman (1941-   ), they invariably invoke two points of view simultaneously. Nauman is incredibly innovative and influential, but his work is uncomfortable and irritating to experience as he tediously prods his viewers’ psyche. The irritability is probably enhanced by the fact that Nauman accomplishes this discomfort via means that seem deceptively simple. In 1995, writing for the New York Times, Andrew Solomon wrote, “Nauman is the guy who makes you feel incredibly upset and existentially nervous. … You can recognize a Nauman by the way it makes you want to go home.”

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Bruce Nauman (1941-   ), Face Mask, 1981, American. Synthetic polymer on paint, charcoal, and pencil on paper. 132.8 × 180 cm. Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art (http://moma.org/), New York, New York; acquired with matching funds from The Lauder Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, 190.1982. Image © The Museum of Modern Art/licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, New York, New York. © 2016 Bruce Nauman/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, New York.



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