Bruce Nauman at York St Mary's: A hermeneutic enquiry into 'the intersection'

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter discusses the fact that St Mary’s is deconsecrated and exists almost exclusively as a modern and contemporary art venue and a cornerstone of York Museums Trust. Violins Violence Silence, like Bruce Nauman’s other works exhibited at York St Mary’s, could be interpreted, with or without the church setting, as a nod to or even a direct address to religiosity, depending what associations the viewer chooses to make with the works. Nauman’s work Untitled, a silver solder and copper sculpture of Nauman’s disembodied hands, interlocked to form a circle and reminiscent of the symbolic Ouroboros – the serpent eating its own tail – took on specific and poignant religious and spiritual meanings in the context of St Mary’s. Like so many of Nauman’s works, when their numerous interpretive possibilities were considered, these examples seemed to present a homage to a post-structuralist distrust of language.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Art in Heritage Spaces
EditorsNick Cass, Gill Park, Anna Powell
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780429624827, 9780429053498
ISBN (Print)9780367148058
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2020


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