Sunday, March 04, 2007

Response Essay

My first impression on Bruce Nauman’s works or sculptures was somewhat a disappointment. In fact, it was awkward: art seems not to be that artful. I expected a work of art as something visionary or hard to understand without artistic knowledge such as Leonardo Da Vinci’s or Pablo Picasso’s surreal paintings. However, this experience, a visit to Berkeley Art Museum, changed my perspective of art as something not artful but yet understandable.

I do not understand what the title of this exhibition—“A Rose has no teeth.” However, there is something clear in his works: it is some kind of an experiment. Bruce Nauman engages in the experiment of new technology; he definitely uses implements which hardly seems classical such as fiber-glass, projector, or even a photograph. However, I failed to classify all of his work under one categorical theme. A piece of his works experiments with time, other with a material, or another with the artist, Nauman himself as a subject.

There is one piece of Nauman’s works that random geometrical image is reflected through the project onto the screen made of sand. The image of mixed geometrical figures reflected is constantly changing; each figure is changing its color or the shape of the figure is changing. The idea of ‘randomness’ Nauman intends to create ascertains when Nauman chooses to project that image on the screen. The material of the screen is ‘sand;’ the screen made of this material has no fixed form. I am not sure whether it is Nauman’s intention that the work is not solely the artist’s own: the screen has been secretly altered by my ruthless hand or I am not supposed to. However, it is clear that this work is different from works before the technological advance such as a projector that Nauman has created the piece which has no one fixed form but constantly changes. I am not going to say something like this is the ultimate form of ‘randomness’ or whether has he achieved it; however, it is clear that Nauman experiments and it is the technology which makes this possible.



Blogger Mike Kim said...

I have to agree that this exhibition was certainly different in a sense that it broke the boundaries of art. Art is so subjective that if one tries to put it into a certain frame or boudaries it will just mock those obstacles and break right through them. Nauman's work was like that. It mocked the audience(by playing with their expectations), it mocked the conventional art(in his work with five allegedly famous artist's knee prints), and in general he really pushed the envelope in terms of what is art and what is not.

This exhibition also got me thinking that art is really not a set idea and this was really well reflected in the experiments that you mention in your essay. My understanding of art was that the artist and the art work should be connected in anyway possible, but Nauman, using his own body as the material and subject of his art work , really showed how connected one can be with his artwork.

Nauman really broke my mental boundaries of viewing art, and reminded me once again that art is really evolving and changing constantly and that that is the beauty of it.

3/05/2007 12:08 AM  
Blogger Irene Chien said...

FYI, the work that was random geometric images projected on a sandbox was not part of the Nauman exhibition. (Things got confusing with the second tour guide, whose voice was too quiet to hear above the din, so I can understand your mistake.) The sand projection work is called "Landscape," and it's by Shirley Shor, a San Francisco based artist. Everyone will have a chance to examine it more closely when you return to the museum this Wednesday.

3/05/2007 8:09 AM  
Blogger Frank Song said...


3/13/2007 11:00 PM  
Blogger Shane_Wey said...

Nauman did to an interesting job at incorporating other media. He did alot of screens and projections. They followed the theme of the first two structures that they were different at every museum depending on the way it was projected. What does this say about his art? I have no idea. His art was extremely abstract and hard to understand.

4/30/2007 1:06 AM  

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