EXCELSIOR | Bruce Conner's Exhibition


February 25, 1962

Mexico City – There is a strip of fur and another of cardboard; beads and cellophane: it is called “Ratbastard,” title registered and all rights reserved. The title is a word which, out of respect to our readers and ourselves, we will not translate into Spanish.

Another is called “El Señor.” There is a candle with pieces of wood or masonite; a box of matches; a boy’s “cowboy” belt; and adored fragments. 

“Angel Head Flower”: pieces of marijuana cigarette stubs, newspapers, a tack, and colorful yarns within a frame of fur.

“La Annunciación.” There are fragments of a mirror, strips of colored cellophane, little figures from cards, a velvet button, images of women’s legs, and crepe paper.

“Guadalupe”: a draped cloth of blue muslin; a bean necklace, another of rosary beads, and another of small stones. 

“Ressurección”: there are tassels, at the bottom are hanging glass beads, some fringes, etcetera.

“Título Secreto”: it has a ripped and dirty Mexican flag, a little girl in a bathing suit, a strip of scorched cloth, a cord, and diverse fragments difficult to specify.

And so on.

All this and more. One sees a symbolism unsuitable for minors. This is Bruce Conner’s exhibition of “sketches”, montages, and “assemblages” at the Jacobo Glantz Gallery (Geneva 70, 1st floor).

The work gives an impression of antiquity, murkiness, poorly disguised obscenity, and dalliance in garbage. There is a gloomy lack of imagination without escape whatsoever.

They tell us that the artist, if you can call him that, has had exhibitions in important galleries north of the Rio Bravo. He has taken part in a Biennale (in Illinois). He has presented something of this kind at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. We pity the museums, the galleries, and the no longer intellectual but crazy public that swallows things of such notoriously bad taste. The first thing one must have is inventiveness in order to come, decades later, and do this sort of thing with refried Dadaism and Surrealism. At least there should be good taste and moderation of hocus-pocus. The truth is that all of this is so out of date, like a common fashion extravagance, and yet it claims to show us something unusual. This strikes us as a bit excessive.

If such lucubrations seen in these montages and assemblages of fragments or residues were able to wake the least bit of curiosity, we would be generous to assume a decent future. At this time it lends a small sensation in having been “scavenged” from a garbage can. Just as in Beckett, one can say that he has a scavenger’s obsession. But Beckett’s obsession, to which we do not adhere, reveals an inventive power of psychological analysis that saves us from its disagreeable aspects. However here, only the disgusting remains. Filth from top to bottom.


Translation: Thor Anderson

This translation from Spanish to English is Copyrighted 1989 by Bruce Conner.