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Los Angeles County Museum of Art Acquires Bruce Nauman For Beginners (all the combinations of the thumb and fingers), 2010 Video and Sound Installation

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) announce that Bruce Nauman’s most recent large-scale video and sound installation, For Beginners (all the combinations of the thumb and fingers), 2010, is now part of its collection thanks to French entrepreneur François Pinault’s contribution.

Widely considered one of the most important artists working today, Nauman represented the United States at the 2009 Venice Biennale, where he won the coveted Golden Lion. The artist made For Beginners in 2010, which was first exhibited at the Sir Norman Foster-designed Sperone Westwater gallery in New York in the fall of 2010. The two-channel work, screened at a large scale, depicts two pairs of hands with the fingers and thumbs opening and closing in different combinations, following verbal instructions.

“This is truly a landmark acquisition for LACMA,” says LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director Michael Govan. “We are thrilled to have this dramatic and important artwork enter the collection, and are especially grateful to Mr. François Pinault for acquiring the work jointly with, and for, LACMA. Nauman is internationally recognized as one of the greatest living artists; it’s therefore appropriate to share his work across two continents. The art work is also especially relevant to LACMA since Nauman lived in California and Los Angeles in the 1960s and ‘70s, and LACMA mounted the artist’s first retrospective in 1972.”

Mr. Pinault is founder of PPR (Gucci Group, Puma, Alexander McQueen, and others) and is one of the major collectors of contemporary art in the world. His collection is on view to the public at the Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana in Venice, Italy. He states, “I am delighted that thanks to our collaboration with LACMA, such a major work by one of the greatest artists of our time will be presented to a large international audience in the United States as well as in Europe, where I plan to display it in Venice.”

Franklin Sirmans, LACMA’s Terri and Michael Smooke Department Head and Curator of Contemporary Art, stated “LACMA has collected works by Nauman representing each decade of his work since the late 1960s. Our collection already includes video, prints, sculpture, photography, and a major neon work, Human Nature, the titular work of our current exhibition of works from the permanent collection.” Sirmans continued, “As with another work by Nauman in the same show, Walk with Contrapposto (1968), For Beginners was created more than forty years later in the studio with a camera, the artist’s body, and little else.”

Born in 1941 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Nauman’s practice spans a broad range of media including sculpture, photography, neon, video, drawing, printmaking, and performance. Since the 1970s he has been recognized as one of the most consistently innovative and provocative artists working internationally. Nauman graduated from Wisconsin in 1964, and received his MA from the University of California, Davis, in 1966. He lives and works in New Mexico, and is represented by Sperone Westwater.

For Beginners will go on view on the ground floor of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM) at LACMA in fall 2011.

Image: Bruce Nauman, For Beginners (all the combinations of the thumb and fingers), 2010 HD video installation (color, stereo sound), continuous play, 2 HD video sources, 2 HD video projectors, 4 speakers, dimensions variable Image courtesy Sperone Westwater, New York © 2011 Bruce Nauman / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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