Published in association with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Edited by Rudolf Frieling and Gary Garrels. Contributions by Stuart Comer, Diedrich Diederichsen, Rachel Federman, Laura Hoptman.

Artist Bruce Conner (1933–2008) moved to San Francisco in 1957 and quickly enmeshed himself in the Bay Area’s distinctive cultural milieu, combining a vision and a multifaceted body of work that went beyond the limitations of any genre. From early assemblages of the 1950s and 1960s to iconic and pioneering works in film, from photography and photograms to prints, drawings, and paintings, Conner’s oeuvre continues to exert tremendous influence on artists working today. This historic retrospective catalogue will be the definitive resource on this important artist for decades to come. Offering a highly anticipated contemporary perspective on Conner, it will prove revelatory in assessing his output and place in postwar art. Illustrated in full color throughout, this comprehensive volume provides access to a range of material that has never been published, including early paintings from the 1950s and works from the last decade of Conner’s life, along with a trove of fascinating ephemeral materials. The publication features original scholarship by a range of luminaries, including essays by Frieling, Garrels, Stuart Comer, Diedrich Diederichsen, Rachel Federman, and Laura Hoptman as well as contributions from Michelle Barger, Kevin Beasley, Dara Birnbaum, Carol Bove, Stan Brakhage, Will Brown, David Byrne, Johanna Gosse, Roger Griffith, Kellie Jones, Christian Marclay, Greil Marcus, Michael McClure, Megan Randall, Henry S. Rosenthal, Dean Smith, and Kristine Stiles.
Exhibition dates:
Museum of Modern Art, New York: July 3–October 2, 2016
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art: October 29, 2016–January 29, 2017
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain: February 21–May 22, 2017

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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.

Walker Art Center, 1999

10 x 13 in. 272p. Hardcover.

Available through the Walker Art Center



Painting, Drawing, Film

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).

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Text by Dirk Dirksen & Greil Marcus.

“Bruce Conner: Mabuhay Gardens”, presents 53 black-and-white photographs that Conner took of the unruly punk rock scene at the nightclub of the same name in 1978 and ‘79. This was the epicenter of the San Francisco punk scene and those were its golden years. Conner’s ostensible mission was photojournalistic documentation – he was working with the legendary punk fanzine Search & Destroy, and in fact, he did capture the moment with a keen eye for the relevant detail’s of costume and gesture.

NRW-Forum, Düsseldorf 2006.

23 x 22 cm. 84 p. Hardcover.

53 black and white prints.                                

Text in German and English language.

Available through LACMA



by Kevin Hatch 

Published by The MIT Press

In a career that spanned five decades, most of them spent in San Francisco, Bruce Conner (1933–2008) produced a unique body of work that refused to be contained by medium or style. Whether making found-footage films, hallucinatory ink-blot graphics, enigmatic collages, or assemblages from castoffs, Conner took up genres as quickly as he abandoned them. His movements within San Francisco’s counter-cultural scenes were similarly free-wheeling; at home in beat poetry, punk music, and underground film circles, he never completely belonged to any of them. Bruce Conner belonged to Bruce Conner. Twice he announced his own death; during the last years of his life he produced a series of pseudonymous works after announcing his “retirement.” In this first book-length study of Conner’s enormously influential but insufficiently understood career, Kevin Hatch explores Conner’s work as well as his position on the geographical, cultural, and critical margins.

Hatch finds a set of abiding concerns that inform Conner’s wide-ranging works and changing personas. A deep anxiety pervades the work, reflecting a struggle between private, unknowable, interior experience and a duplicitous world of received images and false appearances. The profane and the sacred, the comic and the tragic, the enigmatic and the universal: each of these antinomies is pushed to the breaking point in Conner’s work.

Generously illustrated with many color images of Conner’s works, Looking for Bruce Conner proceeds in roughly chronological fashion, from Conner’s notorious assemblages (BLACK DAHLIA and RATBASTARD among them) through his experimental films (populated by images from what Conner called “the tremendous, fantastic movies going in my head from all the scenes I’d seen”), his little-known graphic work, and his collage and inkblot drawings.

Available through MIT Press



Published by University of California Press

by Anastasia Aukeman

The Rat Bastard Protective Association was an inflammatory, close-knit community of artists who lived and worked in a building they dubbed Painterland in the Fillmore neighborhood of midcentury San Francisco. The artists who counted themselves among the Rat Bastards—which included Joan Brown, Bruce Conner, Jay DeFeo, Wally Hedrick, Michael McClure, and Manuel Neri—exhibited a unique fusion of radicalism, provocation, and community. Geographically isolated from a viable art market and refusing to conform to institutional expectations, they animated broader social and artistic discussions through their work and became a transformative part of American culture over time. Anastasia Aukeman presents new and little-known archival material in this authorized account of these artists and their circle, a colorful cultural milieu that intersected with the broader Beat scene.

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A Project by Will Brown

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.

Available through artbook