Press Release

ARTIST ROOMS exhibition of Bruce Nauman to open at Tate Modern

ARTIST ROOMS exhibition of Bruce Nauman to open at Tate Modern
Bruce Nauman La Brea/Art Tips/Rat Spit/Tar Pits 1972

Bruce Nauman
La Brea/Art Tips/Rat Spit/Tar Pits 1972
Neon tubing with glass tubing suspension frame
619 x 584 x 51 mm.
Anthony d’Offay, London
© ARS, NY and DACS, London 2006
Anthony d’Offay, London © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2006

Tate announced today that Bruce Nauman (b.1941) will be the next artist presented in the ARTIST ROOMS gallery in the Switch House in a free exhibition opening on 24 July 2017. The gallery opened in June 2016 with Louise Bourgeois, one of the highlights of the new Tate Modern displays. The ARTIST ROOMS gallery is the London hub for showcasing work from the ARTIST ROOMS collection.

Tate also announced today that Bruce Nauman’s fascinating and enigmatic sound installation Raw Materials will return to the Turbine Hall in May. It will be the first time the work has been shown since it was commissioned for The Unilever Series in 2004.

Nauman is widely regarded as one of the most innovative and influential American artists working today. His work focuses on perception, spatial relationships, human psychology, and questions about life and death. Since the 1960s, his pioneering exploration of different media has challenged conventions and had a profound impact on a younger generation of artists internationally.

The ARTIST ROOMS exhibition will present a selection of works spanning Nauman’s career. These include the iconic neon sculptures VIOLINS VIOLENCE SILENCE (1981-2), La Brea/Art Tips/Rat Spit/Tar Pits (1972), and Double Poke in the Eye II (1985), all of which demonstrate Nauman’s witty and insightful exploration of the human condition. The exhibition will also include the large sculptural installation Enforced Perspective: Allegory and Symbolism (1975), and the important video work Raw Material with Continuous Shift – MMMM (1991), a landmark work that lures and unnerves the viewer with Nauman’s trademark intensity. It will also feature drawings, as well as ground-breaking video works such as Raw Material Washing Hands (1996) and, from the Tate Collection, Good Boy Bad Boy (1985), in which actors hypnotically recite a catalogue of phrases, and Violent Incident (1986), in which a violent dinner party scene is played on loop across twelve monitors.

In Raw Materials, the sound installation created for the Turbine Hall in 2004 and subsequently acquired for the Tate collection, Nauman brings together 22 fragments of speech recorded over 40 years, transmitted from 22 speakers mounted on the walls. Walking through the Turbine Hall the visitor is encouraged to listen rather than look, as a discord of voices relay incessant thoughts, exclamatory commands and rhythmic chants. The tone and rhythm of the voice varies dramatically, from composed to psychotic, imploring to intimidation, ranting to melodic. The work has not been displayed since it was first exhibited for The Unilever Series for the Turbine Hall in 2004.

Nauman was born in 1941 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He studied mathematics, physics, art and music at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and now lives and works in New Mexico. His work is in private and public collections worldwide, including Tate, the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. Since his first solo gallery show in 1966 he has been the subject of many notable museum exhibitions. A major retrospective, organised by The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, travelled throughout America and Europe (1993-1995). Recent solo exhibitions have included Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris (2015). Nauman received the Golden Lion at the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999 and the Praemium Imperiale in 2004 in Japan. He represented the United States at the 2009 Venice Biennale and was the 2014 laureate of the Austrian Frederick Kiesler Prize.

The ARTIST ROOMS gallery opened in the Switch House on 17 June 2016 with an exhibition of Louise Bourgeois and will continue to present fascinating exhibitions drawn from the work of the forty artists in the ARTIST ROOMS collection. The ARTIST ROOMS collection is owned jointly by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland and was established through The d’Offay Donation in 2008, with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund and the Scottish and British Governments.

ARTIST ROOMS: Bruce Nauman is curated by Ann Coxon, Curator of Displays and International Art, Tate. It will be on display from 24 July 2017 for one year. Bruce Nauman: Raw Materials is curated by Valentina Ravaglia, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern, and will be on display 15 May – 20 August 2017.

ARTIST ROOMS: Bruce Nauman
Level 4, Switch House
24 July 2017 – July 2018

Bruce Nauman: Raw Materials
Turbine Hall
15 May – 20 August 2017

ARTIST ROOMS is a collection of more than 1,600 works of modern and contemporary art, displayed across the UK in dedicated solo exhibitions that showcase the work of 40 major artists. It was founded through The d’Offay Donation in 2008, when Anthony d’Offay gifted the collection to Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland on behalf of the public, with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund and the Scottish and British Governments. To date, over 40 million people have visited more than 150 exhibitions, presented at 77 museums and galleries around the UK, from Penzance to the Hebrides, from Kilmarnock to Hull, from Belfast to Llandudno. ARTIST ROOMS gives young people the chance to discover more about art and artists, and to develop new skills and confidence through being involved in creative projects. The current ARTIST ROOMS programme is delivered through a partnership between National Galleries of Scotland, Tate and lead Associate Ferens Art Gallery until spring 2019, supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Art Fund and by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland. | |


Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, we plan to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.


Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art. In the past five years alone Art Fund has given £34 million to help museums and galleries acquire works of art for their collections. It also helps museums share their collections with wider audiences by supporting a range of tours and exhibitions, including ARTIST ROOMS and the 2013-18 Aspire tour of Tate's Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows by John Constable, and makes additional grants to support the training and professional development of curators. Find out more about Art Fund and the National Art Pass at


Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit Follow us @creativescots and


The Ferens is one of the UK’s finest regional galleries and reopened in January 2017 following a £4.5 million refurbishment. As well as hosting a fourth ARTIST ROOMS exhibition in April 2017 as part of Hull’s UK City of Culture celebrations, the Ferens is the lead Associate Partner for ARTIST ROOMS UK programme until spring 2019, chairing the ARTIST ROOMS Advisory Group of Associate museums and galleries and providing mentoring support through a professional development programme. Ferens Art Gallery is operated by Hull Culture and Leisure Limited on behalf of Hull City Council.