Unlike many of his contemporaries, Bruce Nauman has refrained from participating in the critical discourse surrounding his own work. In contrast to Nauman's reputation for silence, however, from the beginning of his career, the incorporation of language has been a central feature of his art. This collection takes as its starting point the seeming paradox of an artist of so few words who produces an art of so many words. Please Pay Attention Please contains all of Nauman's major interviews from 1965 to 2001, as well as a comprehensive body of his writings, including instructions and proposal texts, dialogues transcribed from audio-video works, and prose texts written specifically for installation sculptures. Where relevant, the texts are accompanied by illustrations of the artworks for which they were composed. In the critical essay that serves as the book's introduction, the editor investigates Nauman's art in relation to the linguistic turn in art practices of the 1960s - understanding language through the speech-act - and its legacy in contemporary art.
Janet Kraynak is a New York-based art historian.