Bruce Nauman

La Brea / Art Tips / Rat Spit / Tar Pits (1972)

About this artwork

For his 1972 retrospective, Nauman proposed an outdoor work that would encircle the walls of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which stands adjacent to a famous prehistoric site, La Brea Tar Pits. The piece included the name of the site along with two anagrams of these four words depicted in neon tubing. This work is an indoor version that Nauman made in the same year. Throughout the early 1970s Nauman created several more luminous signs that used a combination of witty word games and bold colour to disturb the meaning of everyday phrases and expressions.

  • title: La Brea / Art Tips / Rat Spit / Tar Pits
  • accession number: AR00607
  • artist: Bruce NaumanAmerican (born 1941)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Installation
  • subject: Video Art
  • date created: 1972
  • measurements: 61.90 x 58.40 x 5.10 cm (65kg)
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • copyright: © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2016.
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Bruce Nauman

Bruce Nauman

Bruce Nauman is considered one of the most influential artists working today. He was born in Indiana and initially studied Maths and Physics in Wisconsin, then Art in California. In 1965 he abandoned purely painting in favour of working in a variety of media. His work combines bodily consciousness, physical and mental activity, linguistic manipulation and humour. In his early work, Nauman made wax casts of his body, moving on to make sculptural installations, photographs, films and performance pieces. Although Nauman's work has been associated with various movements, including performance, conceptual and body art, it always eludes precise categorisation. He represented America at the 2009 Venice Biennale.