ART SEEN: Bruce Conner's work make BOMBHEAD memorable

Crossroads is big but Bombhead is small.

The sentence may sound like an art koan but it’s not. It’s about two things. One is Crossroads, the name of a video that communicates the incredible destructive power of a nuclear explosion and what it means to live in a nuclear age. The second is Bombhead, the name of the exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery where Crossroads appears. But as an exhibition, Bombhead never really matches the impact of Crossroads.

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ART REVIEW | Martin Herbert’s pick of March exhibitions, Bellas Artes Projects

Bruce Conner, Bellas Artes Projects, Manila, 24 February – 24 May

Affiliated with California’s neosurrealist assemblage scene from the 1950s onwards but a mystic-minded outrider even there, Bruce Conner was determinedly elusive in life. He announced his own death twice, officially renounced art in 1999 and earlier operated under aliases including Emily Feather, BOMBHEAD and the Dennis Hopper One Man Show. Conner was also, as his recent resurrection within the artworld reflects, something of a visionary.

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The New Yorker | Bruce Conner: REPORT and MARILYN TIMES FIVE

If you missed the recent MOMA survey dedicated to the quicksilver Bay Area artist, who died in 2008, at the age of seventy-four, this show makes a fine introduction. A recently restored version of Conner’s 16-mm. film “Report,” from 1967—on view alongside the ingeniously irritating avant-girlie movie “Marilyn Times Five,” made in 1973—considers how a nation processes trauma, the magnetic appeal of conspiracy theories, and the slippery nature of time. 

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e-flux | BRUCE CONNER: FOREVER AND ALWAYS

The Speed Art Museum presents BRUCE CONNER: FOREVER AND EVER, an exhibition of films and prints by Bruce Conner (1933–2008), an artist known for his innovations in film, assemblage, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, and collage. Co-curated by Miranda Lash, Curator of Contemporary Art, and Dean Otto, Curator of Film, BRUCE CONNER: FOREVER AND EVER is the Speed’s first exhibition collaboration between its Contemporary Art and Film departments.

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Insider Louisville | The Speed Art Museum welcomes exhibition BRUCE CONNER: FOREVER AND EVER

As 2017 winds down to a close, the Speed Art Museum will send the year out in style with its newest exhibition, BRUCE CONNER: FOREVER AND EVER. The exhibition — co-curated by the Speed’s curators of contemporary art and film, Miranda Lash and Dean Otto, respectively — covers the works of Bruce Conner, the late artist from McPherson, Kansas, who worked in photography, sculpture, printmaking, as well as film, and was known as the “father of the music video.” It marks the first collaboration between the Museum’s contemporary art and film departments.

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ARTNEWS | The Four Horsemen of America’s Apocalypse: Their Work Unearths the Seething Muck Beneath the Shiny Surface of American Culture

Conner, Shaw, Pettibon, and Wojnarowicz burrow into moments in America’s recent past when the forces of darkness seemed ascendant. Conner’s reflections on the allure of nuclear annihilation during the Cold War, Shaw’s fascination with religious sects that resist the pull of modernity, Pettibon’s exploration of the rubble left by the failure of the 1960s utopian dreams, and Wojnarowicz’s evocation of the AIDS catastrophe of the 1980s all belong to a tradition of anxiety rooted in Apocalyptic thinking. But they also remind us of the ambiguity at the heart of the eschatological narrative. 

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Rudolf Frieling and Gary Garrels discuss Bruce Conner's work and influence for opening of IT'S ALL TRUE at Museo Reina Sofía | February 22, 2017 @ 7:00 p.m.

On the occasion of the retrospective dedicated to the artist Bruce Conner, Bruce Conner. It’s All True, at the Museo Reina Sofía (from February 22 to May 22, 2017), an encounter is presented between specialists Rudolf Frieling and Gary Garrels that seeks to analyze the influence of the creator in current artistic practices. Over the last decade, a number of artists have turned their attention to artistic figures from the last century who explored the production of hybrid forms, challenging artistic genres. In this sense, Bruce Conner (1933-2008) is one of the most representative cases.

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SFMOMA | Coming Soon: VALSE TRISTE

In his most autobiographical film, Conner re-creates his childhood Kansas of the 1940s as a dreamland, accompanied by the theme music from the radio program I Love a Mystery. This nostalgic work takes the viewer to a distant place, lost in time, where dark limousines file across a flooded road and a man and a boy burn leaves. Other sepia-toned sequences and images include a businessman at his desk and a photograph of a locomotive. Once again, no narrative emerges from the associative imaginary of this dreamer’s “valse triste.”

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SFMOMA | Bruce and I by Patrick Gleeson

After I moved to San Francisco in the 1960s to teach in the English Department at San Francisco State, I spent some time prowling the city’s art scene—SFMOMA (then the San Francisco Museum of Art), the de Young, and a few galleries. In general it was pretty plain that San Francisco was the sticks—that the big energy was still in New York.

Somewhere in the midst of the relative parochialism was a completely outrageous artifact—a life-size black wax baby, melted and burned, bound by a web of torched stockings into some cruel parody of a high chair. The artist was Bruce Conner. I’d never heard of him. But this wasn’t regional art, it was the real thing: relevant, burned alive, and disgusting. It didn’t need an overtly political title, like “Hiroshima.” It was just called CHILD.

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¡MADRID! | It’s All True. Bruce Conner

The Reina Sofía Museum (MNCARS) is putting on the first monographic exhibition in Spain dedicated to Bruce Conner (Kansas, USA, 1933-San Francisco, USA, 2008), one of the leading American artists of the second half of the twentieth century, who dealt with some of the core concerns of post-war America in his work.

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BLOUIN ARTINFO | ‘Total Environment, Total Consciousness’ at Anglim Gilbert Gallery, San Francisco

Bruce Conner’s work majorly influenced in the formation and character of California art. Conner created a new lexicon of film and fine art for the post-war generation. The exhibition features a delicate assemblage wall sculpture from 1961, the artist’s late suite of large jacquard tapestries, and a series of miniature inkblot drawings mounted in tiny frames. The exhibition describes works of intensive exploration, from the 70’s till the artist’s death in 2008.

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HUFFINGTON POST | How Artists Survive: They Become Rat Bastards

Anastasia Aukeman wrote the exquisitely bound, thoroughly researched and lucidly definitive history of this group at that time, “Welcome to Painterland: Bruce Conner and the Rat Bastard Protective Association”. She describes how local artists - and some from as far away as New York City - lived and worked in and around 2322 Fillmore Street, a building that the infamous poet/historian Michael McClure came to call Painterland.

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