Janet Kraynak

Janet Kraynak is a New York-based art historian.

  • Please Pay Attention Please: Bruce Nauman's Words

    Please Pay Attention Please: Bruce Nauman's Words

    Writings and Interviews

    Janet Kraynak

    The most comprehensive collection to date of the artist Bruce Nauman's writings plus all of his major interviews from 1965 to 2001.

    Since the 1960s, the artist Bruce Nauman has developed a highly complex and pluralistic oeuvre ranging from discrete sculpture, performance, film, video, and text-based works to elaborate multipart installations incorporating sound, video recording and monitors, and architectural structures. Nauman's work is often interpreted in terms of movements and mediums, including performance, postminimalism, process, and conceptual art, thereby emphasizing its apparent eclecticism. But what is often overlooked is that underlying these seemingly disparate artistic tendencies are conceptual continuities, one of which is an investigation of the nature of language.

    Unlike many of his contemporaries, Nauman has refrained from participating in the critical discourse surrounding his own work. He has given relatively few interviews over the course of his career and has little to do with the art press or critical establishment. Indeed, he granted Janet Kraynak and The MIT Press almost complete autonomy in the preparation of this volume. 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.

    • Hardcover $39.95
    • Paperback $40.00

Contributor

  • Practicable

    Practicable

    From Participation to Interaction in Contemporary Art

    Samuel Bianchini and Erik Verhagen

    Critical analyses, case studies, and artist interviews examine works of art that are realized with the physical involvement of the viewer.

    How are we to understand works of art that are realized with the physical involvement of the viewer? A relationship between a work of art and its audience that is rooted in an experience that is both aesthetic and physical? Today, these works often use digital technologies, but artists have created participatory works since the 1950s. In this book, critics, writers, and artists offer diverse perspectives on this kind of “practicable” art that bridges contemplation and use, discussing and documenting a wide variety of works from the last several decades. The contributors consider both works that are technologically mediated and those that are not, as long as they are characterized by a process of reciprocal exchange.

    The book offers a historical frame for practicable works, discussing, among other things, the emergence and influence of cybernetics. It examines art movements and tendencies that incorporate participatory strategies; draws on the perspectives of the humanities and sciences; and investigate performance and exhibition. Finally, it presents case studies of key works by artists including and offers interviews with such leading artists and theoreticians as Claire Bishop, Thomas Hirschhorn, Matt Adams of Blast Theory, Seiko Mikami and Bruno Latour. Numerous illustrations of artists and their works accompany the text.

    ContributorsMatt Adams (Blast Theory), Jean-Christophe Bailly, Samuel Bianchini, Claire Bishop, Jean-Louis Boissier, Nicolas Bourriaud, Christophe Charles, Valérie Châtelet, Jean-Pierre Cometti, Sarah Cook, Jordan Crandall, Dominique Cunin, Nathalie Delbard, Anna Dezeuze, Diedrich Diederichsen, Christophe Domino, Larisa Dryansky, Glória Ferreira, Jean-Paul Fourmentraux, Gilles Froger, Masaki Fujihata, Jean Gagnon, Katrin Gattinger, Jochen Gerz, Piero Gilardi, Véronique Goudinoux, Usman Haque, Helen Evans and Heiko Hansen (HeHe), Jeppe Hein, Thomas Hirschhorn, Marion Hohlfeldt, Pierre-Damien Huyghe, Judith Ickowicz, Eric Kluitenberg, Janet Kraynak, Bruno Latour, Christophe Leclercq, Frédérik Lesage, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Peter Lunenfeld, Lawrence Malstaf, Julie Martin, Seiko Mikami, Dominique Moulon, Hiroko Myokam, Ernesto Neto, Mayumi Okura, Eddie Panier, Françoise Parfait, Simon Penny, Daniel Pinkas, Chantal Pontbriand, Emanuele Quinz, Margit Rosen, Alberto Sánchez Balmisa, Frederik Schikowski, Arnd Schneider, Madeline Schwartzman, Luke Skrebowski, Vanessa Theodoropoulou, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Andrea Urlberger, Erik Verhagen, Franz Erhard Walther, Peter Weibel, Renate Wiehager, Catherine Wood, Giovanna Zapperi, Anne Zeitz, David Zerbib

    Edited by Samuel Bianchini and Erik Verhagen with the collaboration of Nathalie Delbard and Larisa Dryansky.

    • Hardcover $55.00
  • Elusive Signs

    Elusive Signs

    Bruce Nauman Works with Light

    Joseph Ketner II

    Images of nearly all Bruce Nauman's signs and room installation using neon and fluorescent light, from Window or Wall Sign (1967) to the monumental One Hundred Live and Die (1984), accompanied by interpretive essays.

    Intrigued and inspired by the neon beer signs on shopfronts in his San Francisco neighborhood, Bruce Nauman created his first neon piece, Window or Wall Sign, in 1967. He wanted, he said, to achieve "an art that would kind of disappear—that was supposed to not quite look like art." Light offered Nauman a medium both elusive and effervescent, but one that could also aggressively convey a message. Over the first three decades of his career, Nauman used the medium of light to explore the twists and turns of perception, logic, and meaning with the earnest playfulness that characterizes all his art. Elusive Signs focuses on the discrete body of Nauman's work that uses neon and fluorescent light in signs and room installations, and includes images of nearly all Nauman's work with light. After Window or Wall Sign, Nauman embarked on a series of neons that grappled with the semiotics of body and identity, and with My Name as Though it Were Written on the Surface of the Moon (1968), he forces the viewer to contemplate the role of naming in forming identity. Language—signs and symbols—plays an important role in Nauman's art. His later neon works emphasize the neon as a sign, presenting provocative twists of language and offering harsh and humorous sociopolitical commentary in such pieces as Run from Fear, Fun from Rear (1972). This series culminates in the monumental, billboard-size One Hundred Live and Die (1984), which employs overwhelming scale to bombard the viewer with sardonic aphorisms. In incisive essays that accompany the images of Nauman's work, Joseph Ketner II of the Milwaukee Art Museum (which originated the exhibit this book accompanies) and critics Janet Kraynak and Gregory Volk analyze the works in light both as a body of work and as an access point to Nauman's entire career. Distributed for the Milwaukee Art Museum.

    • Paperback $26.95