Bruce Conner


Bruce Conner is best known for his experimental films, but throughout his career he also worked with pen, ink, and paper to create drawings ranging from psychedelic patterns to repetitious inkblot compositions. Untitled Inkblot Drawing (CT-1491) (1995) is representative of his aspect of his practice. It is a formal exploration related to many different things: the Rorschach inkblot testing used by psychologists, Japanese calligraphy, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and the intricate patterning Conner saw everywhere in the world around him.


In 1977, as an already-established artist best known for his films, Bruce Conner began to photograph punk rock shows at Mabuhay Gardens, a San Francisco club and music venue. 27 Punk Photos: 11. Dim Wanker: F Word, May, 1978 (1978) is representative of a series of photographs by Conner, whose subject became a fascination for the artist. The photographs depict the revival of British punk rock groups in the late 1970s, and the importance of this movement in San Francisco.


Unlike many of his earlier films which often present poignant critiques of mass media and its deleterious effects on American culture, EASTER MORNING, Conner’s final video work before his death in 2008, constitutes a far more meditative filmic essay in which a limited amount of images turn into compelling, almost hypnotic visual experience. The video presents us with a reinterpretation of footage from his unreleased avant-garde film, Easter Morning Raga, from 1966.

Bruce Conner was undoubtedly one of the key figures of America’s avant-garde art scene since his work emerged in the late 1950s. Affiliated with the beat community, he was overtly opposed to the academic establishment and worked freely in a variety of media, including drawing, sculpture, painting, collage, photography, and assemblage. However, Conner is most recognized for his films in which he created a unique visual montage through the skillful and pioneering editing of found footage.