The second installation of Expanding the Frame: Tribute to Experimentation rapidly approaches – next Thursday, February 12, 2008. Unlike Bruce McClure’s live Projection Performance, the second evening of Experimentation (also a Target free Thursday) focuses on the works of Bruce Conner, through a screening of his work and conversation between Film/Video curator Sheryl Mousley and alum Walker curator Joan Rothfuss.
Writer Richard Brautigan compared him to a bowl of Corn Flakes, and often Conner claimed to not be himself – famously going an extended period of time without allowing photos taken of him, which allowed for him to send other’s to screenings, openings, etc. as Bruce Conner.
Commonly noted as a filmmaker, Bruce Conner cannot be pigeonholed in one artistic genre. He may, actually, have dismissed the title of artist all together. At the beginning of my search into the life of Bruce Conner, I started with little prior knowledge and found myself completely enamored with the man by the end of my journey
In 1999, the Walker Art Center assembled a large-scale, monographic exhibition of Conner’s work titled 2000 BC: The Bruce Conner Story Pt. II. The exhibition’s catalogue- written mostly by Joan Rothfuss, Peter Boswell, and Bruce Jenkins – is by no means small, giving way to the momentous body of Conner’s work.
This past October, Bruce Jenkins wrote a reminiscent obit piece in Artforum about Conner. One section of the article seemed to correlate Conner’s work and the coincidence/chance of the reception of his work that I found the anecdote to almost be in tandem with his creations.
“The large-scale monographic exhibition mounted in 1999 by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, for example, was titled to suggest a different date of presentation (2000) and, more puzzlingly, was subtitled The Bruce Conner Story Part Two. When the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago placed the 2000 BC exhibition catalogue on its sales counter, it felt compelled to post a sign stating, THERE IS NO PART ONE. Adding to the confusion about the scope of this large show, Conner insisted that the front endpaper of the catalogue bear an embossed seal declaring (not just once, but twice) NOT A RETROSPECTIVE.” -Bruce Jenkins, Artforum
Also interesting background is Joe Beres’ previous post on here after Conner’s death this past summer.
Because I cannot link video of Conner’s work to prove just how worth while it is, I will leave with a quote about his work:
“…But whatever the subject or mood of particular films, the driving force in Conner’s work seems to me to be an ecstasy that is generated by his being able to recycle even the most banal commercial and industrial film imagery into new works that are not only dense and sophisticated but also accessible to almost any viewer. ” –Scott Macdonald, A Critical Cinema
Needless to say, his work is unforgettable.