Caned Dance, 1974 by Bruce Nauman
Caned Dance, 1974; Lithograph on Arches paper; Signed B Nauman, numbered 9/100, and dated 74 lower right; Co-published by Multiples Inc. and Castelli Graphics, New York; Size - Sheet: 22 x 30"; Unframed.
"I'm surprised when the work appears beautiful, and very pleased. And I think work can be very good and very successful without being able to call it beautiful, although I'm not clear about that. The work is good when it has a certain completeness, and when it's got a certain completeness, then it's beautiful." - Bruce Nauman
Bruce Nauman is an American artist who has worked for over three decades in a variety of media including: photography, performance, drawing, sculpture, photography, video, neon, sound, and printmaking among others. Nauman is regarded as one of the most important artists working today, and his work is collected by all the major art museums of the world.
A large amount of his artwork is characterized by the use of language, that will often manifest itself into mischievous, odd, or playful ways; often pitting the metaphoric and definitive nature against each other. He will also manipulate the interaction of words through the use of puns, palindromes, anagrams, and repetition. Nauman is also interested in the pitfalls of language as a means of communication, control, and the artistic manipulation of visual symbols.
Nauman collaborated with the famed dancer and dance instructor Merce Cunningham. Cunningham's work from 1970 entitled "Tread" is a lighthearted work, that was described by Patrick O'Connor as "sometimes hilarious and always good-humored piece" in which "the dancers get into some extraordinarily complicated physical entanglements." Don McDonagh described the rehearsal, "it begins quietly, with the company seated, and then works up to a humorous set of catches, lifts, and fast exits and entrances which resemble a French bedroom farce. At the finish, the work returns to its original, tranquil state." "Tread," 1970 was another piece that Cunningham collaborated with other visual artists in order to join multiple artistic disciplines. Jasper Johns, who had previously worked with Cunningham, invited Bruce Nauman to design the set for "Tread," which consisted of ten large industrial fans that were aligned in a row across the front of the stage. The fans were set to oscillate, and they rotated from left to right; blowing air out into the audience.
"Caned Dance" is a spectacular work by Bruce Nauman that deals with language, most directly with words that relate to performance. The word "Dance" is preceded by "Caned" creating in the mind's eye a series of dance movements involving a cane being used as a prop. The entire work of art is composed using brushstrokes of three colors; pink, yellow, and green. The unpainted cream paper and yellow brushstrokes make up the capital letters of the two words. Choice of colors and the way in which the colors are applied create an optical effect that obfuscates the text, and veils the words as being instantly read and understood by the viewer. This work was initially published and sold in order to raise funds for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in New York. This is a beautiful original hand signed work of art by Bruce Nauman and a great addition to any art collection!
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