The Philadelphia Inquirer profiles artist Bruce Nauman whose Venice Biennale pavillion was curated by Philadelphia Museum of Art curator Carlos Basualdo. Though Nauman has received a lifetime achievement award in Venice, his market is limited by nature of his work:
Some of Nauman’s works have passed from collector to collector for staggering sums. Julie Head/Julie Head, a 1990 wax sculpture, sold through Sotheby’s last year for $1,049,000. His Henry Moore Bound to Fail set an auction record for postwar art when the hammer came down at Christie’s in 2001 as bidding reached $9.9 million.
But there’s a big drop-off in price after those two, in part because many of Nauman’s works aren’t something you hang on the wall. It might be hard, for instance, to live with Think, a double-screen video piece at the Iuav with Nauman’s head popping into the screen in purple tones to continually yell “think!”
“Not everyone is willing to live with a neon piece, not everyone wants to live with an installation, and video collectors are still a relatively small part of the collecting population,” says Robert Manley of Christie’s. “When you actually narrow down his important works that will appeal to the mainstream collector, there really aren’t so many.”
Nauman is not a prolific artist. He doesn’t work on commission. “There always has to be some idea before I start” – and sometimes there are none for “weeks, months, years.” The period leading up to the Venice proposal was a dry patch, he says.
Shaking Up the World of Art for Decades (Philadelphia Inquierer)