Provocative text

Window or Wall Sign initially hung in the window of Bruce Nauman’s studio in a shopping street in San Francisco, next to the then still present advertisement for a beer brand. At first glance an ordinary neon advertisement, but with the provocative text: ‘The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths’.

Truth or cliché?

This work confronts the observer not so much with an unshakable position, but more with a question: is this assertive statement true or is it a cliché? Is Nauman serious, or is he poking fun at this postulated truth?


Nauman presents his double message in a spiral: the ancient symbol of infinity. The questions he raises over the role of art and the artist remain valid and will never be answered conclusively. For that reason, Window or Wall Sign hangs in the entrance hall of the Kröller-Müller Museum, as a message to the visitor.