Human Interest

Solo en Inglès

Listen to commentary by artists and scholars on selected works in Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection, including Thelma Golden, K8 Hardy, Byron Kim, Deana Lawson, and Joan Semmel.

Bruce Nauman, Six inches of my knee extended to six feet, 1967

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Narrator: Art historian Janet Kraynak on artist Bruce Nauman.

Janet Kraynak: What's important about this piece is that as a viewer, if you came upon it and just looked at it, it would seem to be not just an abstract sculpture, but you would have no idea what it is.

Narrator: The title, however, is highly descriptive: Six inches of My Knee Extended to Six Feet.

Janet Kraynak: What Naumann starts with is the perspective as if one is looking down from one's body at your knee, and if you imagine making an arced line from the left side across the top of your knee to the right side. And he made it into a six inch piece. Then he just attached many of these together in the drawing, elongating it to the length of six feet.

He starts by making these distorted sculptures of the body and eventually where this leads in his work is he puts the viewer in a position of perhaps not being able to understand your body's relationship to space. What would it mean, for example, if you became estranged from your body, if it didn't quite add up or fit or look like what your body is supposed to feel like or look like?

Narrator: Art historian Janet Kraynak on artist Bruce Nauman.

Janet Kraynak: What's important about this piece is that as a viewer, if you came upon it and just looked at it, it would seem to be not just an abstract sculpture, but you would have no idea what it is.

Narrator: The title, however, is highly descriptive: Six inches of My Knee Extended to Six Feet.

Janet Kraynak: What Naumann starts with is the perspective as if one is looking down from one's body at your knee, and if you imagine making an arced line from the left side across the top of your knee to the right side. And he made it into a six inch piece. Then he just attached many of these together in the drawing, elongating it to the length of six feet.

He starts by making these distorted sculptures of the body and eventually where this leads in his work is he puts the viewer in a position of perhaps not being able to understand your body's relationship to space. What would it mean, for example, if you became estranged from your body, if it didn't quite add up or fit or look like what your body is supposed to feel like or look like?


Bruce Nauman, _Six inches of my knee extended to six feet_, 1967. Fiberglass-reinforced polyester resin, 68 3/4 × 5 3/4 × 4 5/8 in. (174.6 × 14.6 × 11.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; partial and promised gift of Robert A. M. Stern 91.115 © 2016 Bruce Nauman/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York