Simultaneously alluring and unsettling, Bruce Nauman’s Fox Wheel articulates the artist’s career-long investigation of existential dichotomies of life and death, pleasure and pain, beauty and perversion. Suspended in a counterclockwise circle of perpetual motion, the nine cast-bronze beasts of Fox Wheel are also among the artist’s series of animal sculptures based on taxidermy molds. The series was prompted by Nauman’s 1988 visit to a taxidermy shop in rural New Mexico, where he had moved from Los Angeles almost a decade earlier.
Fascinated by the polyurethane-foam models of deer, wolves, bears, foxes and other hunting targets that filled the space, Nauman began to incorporate animal forms into his sculptures. “I had some forms cast in metal and when they came back from the foundry they were cut in pieces, I guess because it was easier to cast them that way” Nauman said of his process. “The casts were around the studio for a while, and then I started putting them back together in different ways – rearranging them into new shapes that became more abstract...They are beautiful things.” To see Fox Wheel up close, click on the video below.