Bruce Nauman was born in 1941 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. After studying at the University of Wisconsin from 1964 to 1965, he acquired an MFA from the University of California in Davis in 1966. Following his debut show in 1966 at the Nicholas Wilder Gallery in Los Angeles, he has exhibited widely in North America and Europe, including in Documenta IV (1968), V (1972), and VII (1982), in the Whitney Biennales of 1984, 1991, and 1997.
In the 1980s, several major large-scale exhibitions toured, principally in Europe. In 1994 - 1995, a retrospective was organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. In 1999, he was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale. Nauman lives and works in New Mexico, where he moved in 1979, developing a professional interest in horse breeding and training.