THE RAT BASTARD PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION
October 1, 2016 – January 7, 2017
Curated by Anastasia Aukeman
The Landing is pleased to present The Rat Bastard Protective Association, a group exhibition organized by Dr. Anastasia Aukeman, author of Welcome to Painterland: Bruce Conner and the Rat Bastard Protective Association (University of California Press, 2016). Through nearly 50 works by 12 artists, the exhibition documents the activities and artistic production of the Rat Bastard Protective Association (RBPA), an inflammatory, close-knit community of artists who lived and worked together in a building they dubbed “Painterland" in the Fillmore neighborhood of mid-century San Francisco. This will be the first exhibition of the RBPA since 1958, when the group led a parade to their exhibition at the Spatsa Gallery on Filbert Street in San Francisco.
Eager to consolidate his inclusion in the artistic community in and around 2322 Fillmore Street, or “Painterland,” when he arrived in San Francisco in September 1957, Bruce Conner placed himself firmly at the center of the cohort by forming the Rat Bastard Protective Association and naming himself its president. Conner derived the name by combining the name of a San Francisco trash collection company, the Scavengers Protective Association, with a slur picked up at the gym. The artists and poets who counted themselves among the Rat Bastards—these included Wallace Berman, Robert Branaman, Joan Brown, Bruce Conner, Jean Conner, Jay DeFeo, Wally Hedrick, George Herms, Alvin Light, Michael McClure, Manuel Neri, and Carlos Villa—all exhibited a unique fusion of radicalism, provocation, and community.