Why is this title a lie?
Shortly after moving to San Francisco, American artist Bruce Nauman created Wax Impressions of the Knees of Five Famous Artists. At the time, he was just beginning to experiment with using his body for making art. Art historian Pamela Lee.
There is a real sense of play or parody going on in this piece. What Nauman is trying to do is give a mark, give a kind of identification, or a signature, to the artist’s body itself. But instead of, say a hand print, the kinds of which you see in Hollywood, with movie stars, he has in fact used the form of the artist’s knee as the signature or identification mark of the artist.
NARRATOR: Though the title is Wax Impressions of the Knees of Five Famous Artists, the work is in fact, neither wax nor the knees of five famous artists.
What we have, actually, is a piece constructed out of fiberglass and not wax. The knees that we see here, or at least the imprints of them, actually belong to Nauman himself.
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