November 17, 2009 - Philadelphia Museum of Art - U.S. Premiere of Two Bruce Nauman Highlights of the Venice Biennale
November 17, 2009

U.S. Premiere of Two Bruce Nauman Highlights of the Venice Biennale

Bruce Nauman, Days. As installed in the Universitá Iuav di Venezia as part of Bruce Nauman: Topological Gardens. Days, along with Giorni, will have its U.S. premiere at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo by Michele Lamanna. Artwork © 2009 Bruce Nauman / Artist Rights Society (ARS).

Bruce Nauman
Days and Giorni

November 21, 2009 – April 4, 2010

Philadelphia Museum of Art
26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Tel. 215-763-8100

philamuseum.org

Museum Hosts U.S. Premiere of Two Bruce Nauman Highlights of the Venice Biennale

From November 21, 2009 through April 4, 2010, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will host the U.S. premiere of two sound installations, Days and Giorni (both 2009), by the celebrated American artist Bruce Nauman. Days will be presented in the main Museum building’s Gisela and Dennis Alter Gallery (176) and Giorni in the Perelman Building’s Exhibition Gallery, each filling these large spaces. This exhibition marks the first time in seven years that Nauman is showing new major installations in the United States.

The two works made their international debut in Bruce Nauman: Topological Gardens, the exhibition organized by the Museum in conjunction with two of Venice’s most esteemed academic institutions, the Universitá Iuav di Venezia and the Universitá Ca’ Foscari di Venezia, to represent the United States in the 53rd Venice Biennale. In June, the exhibition—a thematic survey comprising four decades of Nauman’s provocative art—garnered the prestigious Golden Lion for the Best National Participation, the first time since 1990 that the United States has received the much-coveted award.

“We are delighted to bring these remarkable works by Bruce Nauman to Philadelphia,” said Timothy Rub, the Museum’s George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer. “They reflect the depth of Nauman’s vision in its most mesmerizing aspect, and they are wonderful highlights of the Venice Biennale, where the United States and Philadelphia in particular have drawn tremendous attention. We are thrilled to share these exceptional works with audiences here in Philadelphia and across the U.S.”

In both Days and Giorni, the days of the week are recited by a range of participants from a script of subtly varying combinations written by Nauman. The artist recorded Days over a period of time in the United States and Giorni during a single day in Venice where he worked with students and faculty of the Universitá Iuav. Differing in language—English in Days and Italian in Giorni—and also in rhythm and progression, the voices that comprise the works can be experienced collectively or in isolation, creating an orchestration of sound that is moving, forceful and unrelenting. As Nauman’s texts both repeat and deftly rearrange the days of the week, they likewise alter and undermine the sequence that normally measures the passage of time.

“The presentation of Days and Giorni in the context of the Museum’s ‘Notations’ series, which is exclusively devoted to contemporary art, will allow our visitors to draw parallels between these works and those of the Museum’s collection, including other works by Nauman,” said Carlos Basualdo, the Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Curator of Contemporary Art, who organized the presentation in Philadelphia with Project Curatorial Assistant Erica Battle. “Bruce Nauman is one of the most influential artists of our time, and it will be thrilling to see his new works in the context of those by Marcel Duchamp and Jasper Johns, which are also essential components of the Museum’s collection.”

Bruce Nauman’s Early Film and Video Works Also on View
During the run of Bruce Nauman: Days and Giorni, the Museum will also present an installation of three recently acquired early films and videos by the artist, in Galleries 178 and 179. This selection—including Dance or Exercise on the Perimeter of a Square (Square Dance) of 1967-68, Slow Angle Walk (Beckett Walk) of 1968, and Wall-Floor Positions of 1968—features Nauman using his own body to investigate the space of his studio through systematic and repetitious movements. Nauman filmed these works shortly after creating his iconic The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths (Window or Wall Sign) of 1967 which was acquired by the Museum in 2007 for its permanent collection and is on view in Gallery 170.

New Publication: Bruce Nauman: Topological Gardens/Installation Views
To mark the opening of Notations/Bruce Nauman: Days and Giorni, the Museum is publishing a book of photographs illustrating Nauman’s works in situ in Topological Gardens that were taken by Michele Lamanna, a former student of Università Iuav. The 60-page book, titled Bruce Nauman: Topological Gardens/Installation Views represents a rare opportunity to publish installation photographs that document the exhibition of Nauman’s work in Venice and will now serve as a complement to the exhibition’s 240-page catalogue featuring four scholarly essays on Nauman’s work and the Venice project. The forthcoming publication Bruce Nauman: Topological Gardens/Installation Views is supported by a professional development grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative.

Bruce Nauman: Topological Gardens at the Venice Biennale
In Topological Gardens at the Biennale, Giorni was presented at the Exhibition Spaces at Universitá Ca’ Foscari while Days was on view at Università Iuav, two sites in addition to the U.S. Pavilion that comprised the U.S. participation. Carlos Basualdo, the Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Curator of Contemporary Art, and Michael R. Taylor, Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of Modern Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, served as the U.S. Commissioners. For more information on Topological Gardens, which closes on November 22, see: www.naumaninvenice.org

Notations/Bruce Nauman: Days and Giorni is made possible by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Henry Luce Foundation, and The Pew Charitable Trusts, with additional funding from Agnes Gund, Maja Oeri and Hans Bodenmann, Sperone Westwater Gallery, and many other Friends of Bruce Nauman. The related catalogue was made possible by Isabel and Agustín Coppel, and was published on the occasion of the premiere of these works in Bruce Nauman: Topological Gardens, the official U.S. representation at the 53rd International Art Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia, which was organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Philadelphia Museum of Art
26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Tel. 215-763-8100

philamuseum.org

Press Contact:
Elisabeth Flynn, 215-684-7364
eflynn@philamuseum.org

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