ArtReview – ‘Why now, man?’

ArtReview October 2018 by ArtReview - Issuu
The cover of the October 2018 Issue of ArtReview

ArtReview founded in 1949 is one of the world’s leading art magazines. ArtReview touches on a wide variety of article types such as commentary of the art world, reviews, and interesting takes on artists and their bodies of work.

The article I decided to focus on was ‘Why now, man?’ written by Jonathan T.D Neil from the October 2018. The article focuses on Bruce Nauman, failure, trauma, race, and privilege.

Walking in an Exaggerated Manner around the Perimeter of a Square | IMAGE  OBJECT TEXT
A photograph from Walking in an Exaggerated Manner Around the Perimeter of a Square by Bruce Nauman

The article begins discussing the contemporary artist Bruce Nauman and his infamous work and the fact ‘no other artist has so consistently defied the pull of a recognisable style’. Included in the article is a still taken from Nauman’s Walking in an Exaggerated Manner Around the Perimeter of a Square. The inclusion of this piece within the article was very deliberate, it epitomises Nauman’s work, making it a good starting point to discuss the artists fundamental believes and practices.

Bruce Nauman. Walk with Contrapposto. 1968 | MoMA
Walk with Contraposto (1968) – Bruce Nauman

What is trauma except failure by another name – failure to represent, failure to incorporate, failure to work through and to sublimate.

Why now, man? Jonathan T.D. Neil

Neil brings up the point of Nauman’s privilege and the advances he has being a white male. The American choreographer, company director, writer, visual artist and conceptualist, Ralph Lemon addresses the politics of Nauman’s 1968 Wall-Floor Positions video. Lemon did his own take on the piece Wall-Floor Positions but with two black live performers instead. It also should be noted that Neil is a white male author so even though he was able to reflect on the privilege Nauman has he would not be able to relate or truly understand the struggle and weight of the work by Lemon.

Why now, man? - ArtReview
Ralph Lemon’s take on Wall-Floor Positions (2003)

In conclusion, I found Neil’s take on Nauman very interesting. Neil almost questions Nauman’s position within the art world and highlights points that are often overlooked especially by Nauman’s fans. It was intriguing how Neil’s choice of language often seemed to be abrasive and dismissive of Nauman’s beliefs.

Author: Daizi Davies

My name is Daizi Davies and I am 19 years old from Cardiff. I like to draw inspiration for my art from my personal life and the challenges I face day to day. I like to experiment with many different mediums but the common link that all my work has is that it is highly autobiographical. My main aim with anything I create is to tell a story and make whoever is viewing it feel something. I am currently studying Fine Art at DeMontford University and I hope to grow as an artist as well as learn new things that will help me in my future as an artist.

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