Bruce Conner: It’s All True at The Museum of Modern Art, July 3 – October 2, 2016

BRUCE CONNER  —  I AM AN ARTIST, AN ANTI-ARTIST, A ROMANTIC, A REALIST, A POSTMODERNIST, A BEATNIK, SUBTLE, CONFRONTATIONAL, ACCESSIBLE, OBSCURE, SPIRITUAL, PROFANE.  — IT’S ALL TRUE.

“Bruce Conner (1933–2008) was one of the foremost American artists of the 20th century, whose transformative work defies straightforward categorization. An early practitioner of found-object assemblage and a pioneer of found-footage film, Conner was a singular member of both the underground film community and the flourishing San Francisco art world, achieving international standing early in his career. His work across a broad range of mediums touches pointedly on various themes of postwar American society, from the excesses of a burgeoning consumer culture to the dread of nuclear apocalypse. Conner’s diverse practice also anticipated the fluidity between mediums that is a hallmark of twenty-first-century art-making. In addition to moving images and assemblages, he produced paintings, drawings, sculptures, prints, photographs, installations, and conceptual interventions.

The exhibition’s title wall displays a varied and contradictory list of adjectives—compiled by Conner—that were used to describe him and his work during his lifetime. He wryly accepted all of them as true, highlighting the effort he made throughout his career to question fixed meanings and definitions and to play with notions of artistic anonymity and personal identity by using pseudonyms, doubles, and false attributions. (…)” — Introductory wall texts.

lookingglass

Bruce Conner. LOOKING GLASS. 1964. Mannequin arms, dried blowfish, painted wood, glass, fringe, shoe, cardboard, cut and pasted printed papers, paint, nylon, fabric, jewelry, beads, string, doll voice box, fur, artificial flowers, feathers, garter clip, tinsel, and metal on Masonite; 60 1/2 x 48 x 14 1/2 in. (153.67 x 121.92 x 36.83 cm). Collection SFMOMA, gift of the Modern Art Council © Estate of Bruce Conner / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: Ben Blackwell.

moma_conner_st.valentinesdaymassacre

Bruce Conner. ST. VALENTINE’S DAY MASSACRE/HOMAGE TO ERROL FLYNN. 1960. Feathers, nylon, mirrors, cut and pasted printed papers, fabric, and metal tack on Masonite. 19 × 14 1/2 × 3 1/2 in. (48.3 × 36.8 × 8.9 cm). San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Gift of Dr. and Mrs. W. William Gardner. © 2016 Conner Family Trust, San Francisco / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, and Vivian Kurz. Photo: Ben Blackwell, courtesy San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

moma_conner_blackdahlia196056

Bruce Conner. BLACK DAHLIA. 1960. Photomechanical reproductions, feather, fabrics, rubber tubing, razor blade, nails, tobacco, sequins, string, shell, and paint encased in nylon stocking over wood. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase. © 2016 Bruce Conner / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

moma_conner_lookingformushrooms

Bruce Conner. LOOKING FOR MUSHROOMS. 1959-67. 16mm film (color, sound). 3 min. Collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (Accessions Committee Fund purchase), with the generous support of the New Art Trust. Courtesy Conner Family Trust. © 2016 Bruce Conner.

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Bruce Conner. BREAKAWAY. 1966. 16mm film (black and white, sound). 5 min. Digitally restored 2016. Courtesy Conner Family Trust. © 2016 Bruce Conner.

Conner, Bruce

Bruce Conner. CHILD. 1959-50. Wax, nylon, cloth, metal, twine, and high chair. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Philip Johnson. © 2016 Bruce Conner / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Digital image © 2016 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: John Wronn.

moma_conner_heartwormmirror

Bruce Conner. HEART/WORM/MIRROR. 1960. Wax, mirror, metal can, metal rings, string, and metallic paper on Masonite. 19 × 17 3/4 × 4 1/2 in. (48.3 × 45.1 × 11.4 cm). San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Bagley Wright. © 2016 Conner Family Trust, San Francisco / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, and Vivian Kurz. Photo: Ben Blackwell, courtesy San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

2401.2001

Bruce Conner. 23 KENWOOD AVENUE. 1963. Ink on paper, 26 x 20″ (66 x 50.8 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase and partial gift of Achim Moeller in memory of Paul Cummings. © 2016 Bruce Conner / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

moma_conner_untitledfrommandalaseries_ct2538.06_x2016.4008

Bruce Conner. UNTITLED, from MANDALA SERIES. 1965. Felt-tip pen on paper. 10 1/16 x 10 1/16 in. (25.6 × 25.6 cm). The Morgan Library & Museum, New York. © 2016 Conner Family Trust, San Francisco / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: © Stefan Kirkeby Photography.

moma_conner_untitled_x2016.4008

Bruce Conner. UNTITLED. 1966. Felt-tip pen on paper. 38 × 25 1/2 in. (96.5 × 64.8 cm). Courtesy Conner Family Trust. © 2016 Conner Family Trust, San Francisco / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

soundofonehandangel

Bruce Conner. SOUND OF ONE HAND ANGEL. 1974. Gelatin silver print; 87 3/4 x 41 1/4 in. (222.89 x 104.78 cm). Collection SFMOMA, purchase © Estate of Bruce Conner / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: Ben Blackwell.

moma_conner_frankiefix_x2016.4008

Bruce Conner. FRANKIE FIX. 1977. Collage of photocopies on board. 30 1/4 × 16 3/8 in. (76.8 × 41.6 cm). Collection of Martin M. Hale, Jr. © 2016 Conner Family Trust, San Francisco / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jason Mandella.

moma_conner_crossroads197663

Bruce Conner. CROSSROADS [promotional still]. 1976. 35mm film (black and white, sound) transferred to video. 37 min. The Museum of Modern Art, New York and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (Accessions Committee Fund purchase), with the generous support of the New Art Trust. © Bruce Conner 2016. Courtesy Conner Family Trust.

47.2014

Bruce Conner. BOMBHEAD. 2002. Digital print with acrylic paint additions, composition: 31 13/16 x 25 1/8″ (80.8 x 63.8 cm), sheet: 38 5/16 x 31 1/8″ (97.3 x 79.1 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. John B. Turner Fund. © 2016 Bruce Conner / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

burningbright

Bruce Conner. BURNING BRIGHT. 1996. Ink on paper mounted on ragboard; 27 5/8 x 36 in. (70.17 x 91.44 cm). Collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund: gift of the Gerson and Barbara Bakar Philanthropic Fund, Collectors Forum, Diane and Scott Heldfond, Patricia and Raoul Kennedy, Phyllis and Stuart G. Moldaw, Byron R. Meyer, Madeleine H. Russell, Chara Schreyer, Elle Stephens, Norah and Norman Stone, and Phyllis Wattis © Estate of Bruce Conner / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: Ben Blackwell.

The exhibition is organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). It will be on view at SFMOMA, October 29, 2016 – January 22, 2017) and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, February 21 – May 22, 2017.

Installation view photo by Martin Seck. All images courtesy The Museum of Modern Art