Modern Art Monday Presents: Bruce Nauman, Human Nature / Life Death

Human Nature / Life Death
All Photos By Gail

Bruce Nauman’s neon sculpture, Human Nature / Life Death (1983) is a circle of words corresponding to the defining contradictions of human existence — life and death, love and hate, pleasure and pain — are trisected by the words “Animal,” “Human” and “Nature.”

Human Nature / Life Death

Human Nature

Animal Nature

In the aggregate, the words form a colorful, illuminated peace symbol. Human Nature / Life Death is anything but serene or amicable, however, and not only because of its content. As the words flash and darken erratically, Nauman’s neon devolves into a jumble of disjointed signs that break the continuity of the composition and jerk the eye across the wall.

Human Nature / Life Death

Photographed in The Met Breuer in Manhattan.

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