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Second Poem Piece

A work made of steel.
© 2018 Bruce Nauman / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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  • A work made of steel.

Date:

1969

Artist:

Bruce Nauman
American, born 1941

About this artwork

Bruce Nauman’s engagement with linguistic gamesmanship— wordplay, puns, and jokes—can be traced to
two exceptional steel sculptures inscribed with text produced in the late 1960s. In one of these, Second Poem Piece, Nauman positioned the words YOU, MAY, NOT, WANT, TO, SCREW, and HERE (or HEAR) strategically across the sculpture’s flat surface, each word establishing its own vertical column. As the text is read horizontally, row by row, the progressive removal of one or more words from the topmost sentence produces an insistently non-narrative list of variations—even a kind of “poem.” The artist has said of this work, “What I was interested in was that art generally adds information to a situation, and it seems reasonable to also be able to remove information from a situation and get art from that.” Here, the permanence of inscribed steel is at odds with the shifting meanings of the sculpture’s series of statements.

Status

Currently Off View

Department

Contemporary Art

Artist

Bruce Nauman

Title

Second Poem Piece

Origin

United States

Date

1969

Medium

Steel

Dimensions

152.4 × 152.4 cm (60 × 60 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Lannan Foundation

Reference Number

1997.151

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 . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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