A number of works of art by Bruce Nauman were produced and/or refabricated specifically for Bruce Nauman: Topological Gardens. Some of works created especially for the exhibition allowed the artist to work closely with students and staff of the Università Iuav and Università Ca’ Foscari. Others engaged fabricators close to Venice, a production company in Milan, and a variety of talented individuals who came together to reimagine these works for the Venetian context.

The U.S. Commissioners and the Philadelphia Museum of Art would like to thank the people listed below, who showed tremendous dedication to the production and fabrication of these works.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is additionally thankful to Jacob Fishman for creating an exhibition copy of Human Sexual Experience, and to Gibbs Connors, Philadelphia, for creating the template for Nauman’s sign Untitled (The True Artist Is An Amazing Luminous Fountain) for the U.S. Pavilion’s main entrance.

These endeavors would not have been possible without the support and close consultation of the artist and Juliet Myers of the Nauman Studio, New Mexico.


Fabricating Vices and Virtues for the U.S. Pavilion

1. Franco Gobbo, owner of Neon Casale, shaping a glass letter. 2. Franco Gobbo works from a template for Vices and Virtues. 3. Detail of blown glass tubing marked for different words of Vices and Virtues. 4. Testing Hope/Envy. Photography courtesy of Suzanne Wells and the Philadelphia Museum of Art © 2009

Nauman originally conceived of Vices and Virtues in 1983 while working on a site-specific installation with the Stuart Collection of the University of California, San Diego. There, it is permanently installed as a seven-foot high neon installation at the top of all four sides of the Charles Lee Powell Structural Laboratory. For Topological Gardens, Nauman re-envisioned Vices and Virtues to occupy the perimeter frieze of the U.S. Pavilion. As the neon words light up the frieze—virtues flashing in a clockwise motion and vices in a counter-clockwise sequence—the building is revealed as a three-dimensional volume beyond its two-dimensional façade.

Fabrication Credits for the Exhibition Copy of Vices and Virtues at the U.S. Pavilion:

Exhibition copy fabricated by Neon Casale, Casale Sul Sile, Treviso, Italy:  Franco Gobbo, Owner, Project Manager, and Coordinator; Christian Gobbo, Project Assistant; Raffaele Grigoletto, Project Assistant; Christian Grosso, Project Assistant; Stefania Rosina, Project Assistant; Nico Massarin, Project Assistant; Franca Massarin, Administrative Director; Leda Biasin, Administrative Officer.

Support structure fabricated by Extra Pubblicità, S.Biagio di Callalta, Treviso, Italy: Leonardo Leodari, Head Manager; Gianluca Biagini, Project Manager; Marco Bellini, Executive Manager; Massimo Leodari, Technical Officer; Paolo Rizzo, Production Manager; and Davide Mazzariol, Site Manager.

Templates for neon letters and timing device were provided by Jacob Fishman of Lightwriters Neon, Inc. Northbrook, Illinois.

The cooperation and enthusiasm shown by Mary Livingston Beebe, Director, and Matthieu Gregoire of the Stuart Collection at the University of California, San Diego, were fundamental to the remaking of Vices and Virtues for the U.S. Pavilion.


Recording Giorni     

The production of Giorni, 2009, at Waterland Music Studio, Venice, on February 10, 2009. Bruce Nauman and Michele Graglia discuss the recording. 2. Bruce Nauman and Daria Carmi discuss the recording. 3. Cristiano Verardo, owner of Waterland Music Studio, discusses the recording setup with Claudia Di Lecce. 4. Marco de Michelis recording Giorni. Photography courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art © Michele Lamanna 2008

In an essay featured in the Topological Gardens exhibition catalogue titled To Bear, to Endure, U.S. Commissioner Carlos Basualdo recounts the experience of recording Giorni in Venice in June, 2008.  Before working on the Venice presentation, Nauman had first conceived of a sound installation, Days, in which  a group of speakers are heard reciting permutations of the days of the week. It was during the early stages of Topological Gardens that Nauman considered creating a version of Days in Italian. The resulting sound work is minimal in appearance, comprised of fourteen flat and thin speakers hanging off of steel cables. Yet Giorni fills the spaces between the speakers, allowing the recitation of the days of the week to create a musical narrative of extraordinary emotional intensity.

Production Credits for Giorni, 2009
Recorded by Waterland Music Recording Studio, Venice, June 13, 2008
Sound Engineer: Cristiano Verardo
Project Coordinator: Eleonora Charans
Participants in recording: Valentina Barboni, Laura Bruni, Daria Carmi, Marco de Michelis, Francesco Perrone, Tommaso Speretta, Daniele Zoico


Performing and producing Untitled 1970/2009

The production of Bruce Nauman, Untitled, 1970/2009, filmed at the Exhibition Spaces at Università Cà Foscari, February 2009. 1. Dancer Irene Giubilin talks with Production Director Alberto Osella. 2. Dancers Elena dell'Acqua and Irene Giubilin roll in a circular motion over a mat marked with tape under the direction of Massimo Magri. 3. Irene Giubilin roll in a circular motion over a mat marked with tape under the direction of Massimo Magri. 3. Alberto Osella and Assistant to the Director Federica De Rocco discuss the production. 4. View captured by the camera suspended above the dance surface. Photography Pasquale Barisano, courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The production of Nauman’s Untitled 1970/2009 was central to the partnership established by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the universities that are hosting part of the exhibition. Existing as a proposal for the Tokyo Biennial of 1970, Untitled had been recorded with Nauman’s original instructions for performance and a drawing proposing positions of the dancers and the camera. Working together with a group of art history and theater students from Iuav and Ca’ Foscari, the production of the performance took place in the same room in which the work is installed in the exhibition.  In its installation on the Piano Primo of the Exhibition Spaces at Ca’ Foscari, Untitled fully resonates with works both at that exhibition site and throughout the show—combining performance, the mapping of space with tape, and spiraling movements.

Production Credits for Untitled, 1970/2009
Filmed at the Exhibition Spaces at Università Ca’ Foscari, February 10, 2009
Director: Massimo Magrì
Assistant to the Director: Federica De Rocco
Production: Alberto Osella & Partners
Technical support: Movie People
Dancers: Carlotta Borasco, Elena Dell’Acqua, Irene Giubilini, and Monica Soccol
Choreographer: Silvia Salvagno