Published by J&L Books. Text by Jean Conner. Photographs by Jason Fulford.
Artist and filmmaker Bruce Conner’s (1933–2008) mobility was severely limited for the last five years of his life, when he rarely left the San Francisco home he shared with his wife, Jean. To aid in his physical navigation of its spaces, he worked with assistants to install a succession of solid brass handles in each and every room--surrounding the stove, down the boat-like stairwell, inside the recesses of the bedroom closet. At last count, the handles, a labyrinth of critical support, numbered 163.
Still in situ after his death in 2008, the handles are arguably Conner’s last great work--at once physical and metaphysical, fragmentary and elusive, elegant and anonymous. Together, they draft the ghost architecture of Conner’s final years, transforming the pedestrian into something altogether different.
Will Brown is a collaborative project founded by Lindsey White, Jordan Stein and David Kasprzak. Formerly based in a San Francisco storefront, Will Brown’s main objective is to manipulate the structures of exhibition-making as a critical practice. Will Brown recently mounted a solo exhibition at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive.
Published by Moderne Kunst Nürnberg. Edited by Gerald Matt, Barbara Steffen. Text by Ursula Blickle, Gerald Matt, Thomas Mießgang, Michelle Silva, Barbara Steffen, Malcolm Turvey.
Few artists have contributed seminal works to as many genres as Bruce Conner (1933-2008). An assemblage artist famed for his use of nylon stockings, he also pioneered the use of found footage and the high-speed film editing now familiar to us from MTV, and was one of the earliest filmmakers to use pop and soul music on his soundtracks. In the 1960s, Conner collaborated with Toni Basil (of "Mickey" fame) on his dance film Breakaway, and in the 1970s with Devo, David Byrne and Brian Eno on music videos. This survey examines the formal parallels between Conner's works as an artist and filmmaker, and looks at drawings, oil and acrylic paintings, lithographs, prints, photograms and photographs alongside three of Conner's best-known films: Breakaway (1966), Crossroads (1976), and Marilyn Times Five (1968-1973).
Published by Walker Art Center. Photographs by Bruce Conner. Edited by Joan Rothfuss. Contributions by Kathy Halbreich, Bruce Jenkins, Peter Boswell.
Bruce Conner (1933-2008) first came to prominence in the late 1950s as a leader of the assemblage movement in California. Conner had close ties with poets of the San Francisco Renaissance (particularly Michael McClure) as well as with artists such as Wallace Berman, George Herms, Jess and Jay DeFeo. Conner's use of nylon stockings in his assemblages quickly won him notoriety, and saw his work included in Peter Selz's classic 1961 Art of Assemblage show at MoMA. Around this time, Conner also turned to film-making, and produced in swift succession a number of short films that helped to pioneer the rapid edit and the use of pop music among independent film-makers. Conner's innovative editing techniques and decidedly dark vision of American culture laid the foundation for later Hollywood directors such as Dennis Hopper (a friend and collaborator of Conner's, who frequently acknowledged his influence) and David Lynch. A long overdue and significant addition to the understanding of twentieth-century American art and cinema, 2000 BC: The Bruce Conner Story Part II represents the most comprehensive book to date on Conner's work from the 1950s to the present. The authors elucidate Conner's work in film, assemblage, drawing, printmaking, collage,and photograms, as well as his more ephemeral gestures, actions, protests and "escapes" from the art world. This beautifully designed clothbound monograph is a landmark publication for anyone interested in contemporary art, film, culture and the Beat era.