Learned Helplessness in Rats: Tragicomedy and Existential Crisis à la Samuel Beckett in the Art of Bruce Nauman

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In a recent article published in Modern Painters, Brian Dillon poses the following question: Is contemporary art possessed by the spirit of Samuel Beckett? Essentially, it is Beckett's mixing of humor with the metaphysical questioning of disparity, and what it means to live in an incomprehensible world, that elucidates the spirit put forth by Dillon that is responsible for possessing contemporary art. This is also visible in the art of Bruce Nauman, a first-generation Conceptual artist whose work clearly demonstrates that this sense of existential crisis and tragicomedy in fine art is no recent phenomenon. As in the works of Samuel Beckett, Bruce Nauman's oeuvre reflects upon the absurdity of the human condition; a philosophy rooted in the thoughts of Kierkegaard and Camus. By looking closely at Nauman’s art over the past five decades, we can come to terms with the question put forth by Dillon, and what this reveals about the nature of the human condition in relation to... More > contemporary art.< Less
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Product Details

MA Thesis for Purchase College
September 29, 2011
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108.82 MB
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Supported Devices Windows PC/PocketPC, Mac OS, Linux OS, Apple iPhone/iPod Touch... (See More)
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