This September 12, between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., the sky above the Pasadena Arroyo will be transformed by a never-before produced work by noted American artist Bruce Nauman. This major work, Untitled, 1969/2009, takes the form of skywriting that will say, with Nauman’s classic mischievous humor, “Leave the Land Alone.” The viewing is free and open to the public, though the Armory suggests these locations as prime viewing locations: La Loma Bridge, Colorado Street Bridge, and Brookside Park.
Nauman, the winner of the Golden Lion for his work in the American Pavilion and the city at this year’s Venice Biennale, developed this project for an exhibition about Earth Art in 1969. The work was never produced, as the editor’s note points out in Nauman’s collected writings, “perhaps for lack of funds or because it was not taken seriously.”
Initiated by Andrew Berardini, Adjunct Assistant Curator at the Armory Center for the Arts, and organized by Jay Belloli, Director of Gallery Programs, and Sinead Finnerty-Pyne, Gallery Programs Manager, this unique project brings Bruce Nauman back to Pasadena where the artist once lived and worked. This marks his first solo institutional project by Nauman in the Los Angeles area since 1994.
Nauman’s project launches Installations Inside/Out the Armory’s 20th Anniversary Exhibition, running from September 20 – December 31, 2009, at the Armory Center for the Arts. The opening reception is Saturday, September 19, 2009, 6–9 p.m. This important milestone includes exhibitions and installations both at the Armory and at various sites throughout the city of Pasadena, and brings together special projects from Kim Abeles, Edgar Arceneaux, Deborah Aschheim, Daniel Buren, Carl Cheng, Seth Kaufman, Barry McGee, Michael C. McMillen, Carlos Mollura, Matthew Moore, Jane Mulfinger, Rudy Perez, Sarah Perry, Ed Ruscha, Betye Saar, Barbara T. Smith, John Trevino, Pae White, and Mario Ybarra Jr.
With caustic wit and graceful precision, Untitled (Leave the Land Alone), 1969/2009, questions the role of the artists’ intervention with landscape. Directed at Nauman’s contemporaries in the movement now known widely as Land Art or Earth Art, the piece has become especially pointed now that the modern environmental movement has come to adulthood and artists and people everywhere are dealing with the impact of human’s often destructive interaction with landscape. To frame it only in terms of the environment however would miss this smart, funny, and ephemeral piece’s mischievous relationship with language and Nauman’s lifelong play with the role of the artist.
Born in 1941 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Bruce Nauman is widely recognized as being one of the most significant living artists. Following his debut solo show in 1966 at the Nicholas Wilder Gallery in Los Angeles, Nauman has exhibited widely in North America and Europe, including in Documenta IV (1968), V (1972), and VII (1982), and in the Whitney Biennials of 1984, 1991, and 1997. In 1972 the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art organized a retrospective of his work. Nauman's most recent retrospective exhibition was organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, in association with the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., in 1994 and traveled to other museums in Europe and the United States, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. In 1999 he was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale and this year in Venice, he received the Golden Lion for Best National Pavilion. Nauman currently lives and works with his wife painter Susan Rothenberg in Galisteo, New Mexico, where he moved in 1979, and developed a professional interest in horse breeding and training.
This event will be over Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco for a few minutes between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The performance is viewable from many locations in the Arroyo Seco, near the Rose Bowl. However, suggested locations include La Loma Bridge, Colorado Street Bridge, and Brookside Park. Admission is free. For information about Armory exhibitions and events, the public may call 626.792.5101 x122 or visit the Armory website at www.armoryarts.org.