Honored throughout his career with major retrospectives and prestigious prizes, Nauman was already established as one of the most respected artists in the country when he visited Western in 1997.
Asked about Stadium Piece, Bruce Nauman said:
“As to origins of Stadium Piece, I was asked to do a piece at the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque. The location that they had picked was in a plaza area that had a series of steps leading down into a big public area near the library and some other buildings. So, I thought about making a piece that would mirror the location. I made a more severe idea; it just went up and went down. You could climb on it and you could sit and face the library. It had quite a strong relationship to the existing stairway and you could walk under it. Anyway, they rejected the piece because it was a place where they played Frisbee and it was not useful for another structure. I ended up doing something else at the University of New Mexico. But I made a few plaster models of the idea for the piece. I also did some proposals for a version of the piece made out of standard rental bleacher equipment for a couple of locations in Germany for outdoor installations. Anyway, nothing was ever realized.”
“So, when the opportunity arose at Western, the concept for Stadium Piece really seemed to fit your situation. The general area had athletic fields with the track nearby; I also was trying to work with the idea of the future buildings proposed for the open area. So, I imagined that this could be a kind of stadium situation where there would be eventually a lot of traffic because of the new buildings, the existing track and practice area, and because one of the new buildings was supposed to be an athletic facility of some sort. I knew that there was going to be construction, so trying to imagine Stadium Piece in relationship to whatever configuration new buildings around it would eventually take…that was interesting to me. How it would change its function as the campus changed.”
“… A university is a little bit of a special situation because it is not like putting something in the middle of a downtown plaza or a shopping center where you really are dealing with an enormously diverse audience. I think that in a school you can do something that takes a little more effort. I think it can be more challenging in that situation.”
Be sure you walk up Stadium Piece as well as walk underneath it.