Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

AGO to present exhibition of works by multimedia conceptualist Bruce Nauman

FILE PHOTOS of the Art Gallery of Ontario, taken Sept 21 2012. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The Art Gallery of Ontario is digging into the riches of its permanent collections to present an exhibition of works on paper and film by the legendary U.S. multimedia conceptualist Bruce Nauman.

The show, opening March 1, will feature about 24 of Nauman's "word images," the first such presentation of his prints at the AGO in 20 years. Mounted by AGO modern and contemporary art curator Kitty Scott, the works date from 1970 to 1988, supplemented by a 1985 Nauman video installation Good Boy Bad Boy and a 1984 neon sculpture, Double Poke in the Eye II, lent by AGO trustee/collector David Campbell and his wife Vivian. Indeed, all of the works in Bruce Nauman's Words on Paper are gifts from the Campbells.

"Language is one of Nauman's most important subjects, studied in many different ways," said Scott in a media release Wednesday. Nauman's word images "often feature puns and oxymorons, linking contradictory words in alliterative strings." In one work in the show, Violins/Violence (1985), the artist "creates a pun that is verbal, visual and arual, playing these homonyms against each other and the imagined scratches made by his etching pen." Also included in the show, which concludes May 4, are Studies for Holograms, a portfolio of five screenprints, TV Clown, a lithograph on Transpagra polyester film and Use Me, an etching on wove paper.

Story continues below advertisement

The Indiana-born Nauman, 72, represented the U.S. at the 2009 Venice Biennale. His work is in permanent collections around the world including the Museum of Modern Art, the Centre Pompidou, the Tate Modern and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Editor's note: Kitty Scott is a modern and contemporary art curator, not creator. And all of the works in Bruce Nauman's Words on Paper are gifts from the Campbells. This version of the article has been corrected.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author

James More


The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Globe Newsletters

Get a summary of news of the day

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at