Bruce Nauman (October 7, 2020-February 21, 2021) at Tate Modern, London: installation view featuring “Anthro/Socio (Rinde Spinning)” (1992); (photo: Tate Photography (Matt Greenwood); artwork © Bruce Nauman / ARS, NY and DACS, London 2020)
LONDON — What is Bruce Nauman for? What kind of an artist is he? Let me give you an aerial impression, based on memories, all loosely stitched together, of squaring up to various works of his, from here and there, over the years.
Squaring up is a phrase chosen with some care. It is neither easy nor especially relaxing to spend time with Nauman. Nauman’s works are a studied provocation, a bit of a poke in the eye. The fact that he is all over the place means that you are too.
Nauman is alarming, if not frenzied, noisy as they come, jitter-bugging all over the show. He almost never stays still. Voices shout at you, accusatory, from small monitors. There is much jabber, flash, jump, and flicker. You want to shout back, but you’ve been shouted down.