Learn more about the Guggenheim Museum's innovative conservation lab.
Browse the collection for our most recent acquisitions.
Interested in supporting the museum's conservation
initiatives? Learn more
The Guggenheim's Panza Collection contains a broad representation of Bruce Nauman's work from the 1960s and 1970s. These works include interactive corridors and room environments (some of which incorporate closed-circuit video or audio components) as well as several early Post-Minimalist objects, one film-based installation, and one neon language piece.
The 32 works raise a wide range of questions regarding preservation
and display. Many of Nauman’s corridors and room installations, for
example, have been variably refabricated over time. In most instances,
Nauman sanctioned these changes to the works, but decisions were
sometimes made without the participation of the artist, altering the
pieces in fundamental ways. In the case of Yellow Room (Triangular)
(1973), for example, Panza fabricated a version in 1980 on the basis of
very general instructions provided by Nauman, and this refabrication
differed significantly from the original 1974 installation at Konrad
Fischer Galerie, Düsseldorf: not only were the exterior walls more
highly finished, but the interior was left unpainted (rather than
painted white), resulting in a less intense yellow light. When Panza’s
version was replicated at Mass MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of
Contemporary Art), North Adams, in 1999, Nauman expressed his concern
over these and other aspects of the work, supplying the Guggenheim
Museum with a set of new, more specific guidelines. With a number of
other rooms and corridors in the Panza holdings, there is, therefore, a
need to establish general parameters for future fabrications and
installations. Given the nature of such works, which are designed to
create specific situations or forms of encounter, future standards will
strike a balance between historical specificity (sometimes of greater
concern to curators than to the artist, whose criteria can change
markedly over time) and logistical demands, which often vary from one
setting to the next. Related issues apply to works with media
components, such as video or film, or monitors showing live-feed: as
equipment and technology change over time, so does the appearance,
behavior, and affect of the technological image.
See a selection of Nauman's work in the Collection Online.