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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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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SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE | Smaller Bruce Conner exhibits not to be missed

Two strong Bruce Conner exhibitions that might be missed in the shadow of the artist’s extraordinary retrospective at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (“It’s All True,” through Jan. 22) are being simultaneously presented at downtown galleries. Both shows are small, particularly in comparison to the massive SFMOMA affair, and both focus on aspects of Conner’s extensive graphic work.

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artnet NEWS | Apocalypse Now? Like the election, Conner's nuclear-test film at the Whitney reveals the pleasure we take in destruction.

This is a still from Bruce Conner’s great 1976 art film called Crossroads, which is a collage of clips from the government’s own footage of the 1946 Bikini Atoll nuclear test. (See a clip here.) The piece is now showing in the exhibition called “Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905–2016” at the Whitney Museum in New York, after also starring in the recent Conner survey at MoMA. An apocalyptic crossroads – how could I not run it on this particular morning in American history, where blowing things up seems the order of the day?

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BLOUIN ARTINFO | Bruce Conner’s 'Dennis Hopper One Man Show, 1971-73' at Senior & Shopmaker Gallery

Senior & Shopmaker Gallery is presenting Bruce Conner’s, one-person exhibition of photo etchings, “Dennis Hopper One Man Show, 1971-73” till November 12, 2017.

Acting simultaneously as artwork and as foil for a larger conceptual project, this series is considered by many to be among Conner’s major works. Conner’s collages depict a surreal, hallucinatory universe populated by images of flora and fauna, machine parts and disembodied figures.

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THE MERCURY NEWS | SFMOMA fetes category-defying Bay Area artist Bruce Conner

Bruce Conner was such a quirky artist that reference books and museum guides sputter in their attempts to define him. He was “a master of the macabre” expressing “profound pessimism,” a “defiant Bay Area individualist.”

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is determined to uplift Conner’s stature with an authoritative new exhibit. It includes more than 200 works covering a 50-year career as a painter, collage creator, sculptor, filmmaker and art world prankster. Titled “It’s All True,” a riff on the many responses to Conner’s work, it runs through Jan. 22.

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THE BAY AREA REPORTER | Bruce Conner's walk on the dark side

A retrospective has the ability to map the arc of an artist's career, its unifying and diverging themes, but it's unlikely that it's an artist's intention to have his or her life's work shown en masse. So does this mode of presentation enhance, skew or alter the perception of the work? That question arose recently when viewing Bruce Conner: It's All True,the first and certainly most multi-faceted, comprehensive survey of the prodigious 60-year output of this Bay Area iconoclast who, to paraphrase that old Sinatra standard, did it his way. 

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FORBES | See How Radical Artist Bruce Conner Set The Stage For MTV At This Blockbuster SFMOMA Retrospective

When MTV launched in 1981, David Byrne and Brian Eno commissioned a couple music videos that would become benchmarks for the medium. Like Byrne and Eno’s experimental music, both videos used only repurposed materials, including footage from old sales training and science education films. None of the appropriation was authorized. The music videos were never aired.

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SFGATE | Masterworks found in every gallery of Bruce Conner retrospective

If there was ever any doubt about who should be recognized as the greatest artist the Bay Area ever produced, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has resolved the question definitively with its lovingly presented, sweeping analysis of the work of Bruce Conner. The exhibition “It’s All True,” opening Saturday, Oct. 29, comprises some 300 works and is accompanied by an authoritative, 384-page book. Together, show and catalog provide a detailed argument for the artist’s dominance in a range of media, from collage and assemblage, to independent film, to conceptual art.

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