Good Boy Bad Boy

A work made of two color videos, sound, two monitors on two pedestals; tape i (male): 60 min. loop; tape ii (female): 52 min. loop
edition number twenty-nine of forty.
© 2018 Bruce Nauman / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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  • A work made of two color videos, sound, two monitors on two pedestals; tape i (male): 60 min. loop; tape ii (female): 52 min. loop
edition number twenty-nine of forty.

Date:

1985

Artist:

Bruce Nauman
American, born 1941

About this artwork

Bruce Nauman is a wildly influential artist whose work has explored the poetics of confusion, anxiety, boredom, entrapment, and failure since the 1960s. Nauman was a key figure in the experimental film and video movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s with such works as Dance or Exercise Around the Perimeter of a Square (Square Dance). After 1973, film and video become conspicuously absent from his work, replaced largely by language-based neon sculptures. He returned to video more than a decade later, with Good Boy Bad Boy. Of this decision, the artist recalled, “I think it’s because I had this information that I didn’t want to put into a neon sign… . I had thought about presenting it as a performance, but I have never felt comfortable with performance. And so video seemed to be a way to do it.” Conceived as a didactic moral statement, the installation employs two actors, Joan Lancaster and Tucker Smallwood, who are presented in close-up, like newscasters, on two separate monitors. Each recites a one-hundred-line commentary on the human condition that includes passages such as “I was a good boy/You were a good boy/We were good boys” and “I hate/You hate/We hate/This is hating.” Directly confronting the viewer, they deliver each repetition with increased emotional intensity, shifting in and out of sync with one another.

Currently Off View

Contemporary Art

Artist

Bruce Nauman

Title

Good Boy Bad Boy

Origin

United States

Date

1985

Medium

Two color videos, sound, two monitors on two pedestals; Tape I (male): 60 min. loop; Tape II (female): 52 min. loop Edition number twenty-nine of forty

Credit Line

Gift of Lannan Foundation

Reference Number

1997.150

Copyright

© 2018 Bruce Nauman / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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