BRUCE CONNER wins the 2017 Dedalus Foundation Exhibition Catalogue Award

The Dedalus Foundation Exhibition Catalogue Award is awarded annually to the author or authors of an outstanding exhibition catalogue published in a given calendar year that makes a significant contribution to the scholarship of modern art or modernism. This award is given in addition to, and as the complement of, the prestigious Robert Motherwell Book Award.

We are proud to announce the 2017 award went to BRUCE CONNER: IT’S ALL TRUE by Rudolph Frieling and Gary Garrels, published in association with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

“The historic exhibition catalogue BRUCE CONNER: IT’S ALL TRUE offers a rigorous accounting and analysis of a pivotal American artist whose pioneering work in various media, including film and video, works on paper, assemblages, photographs and photograms, performance, and more, continues to exert tremendous influence on artists working today.

The catalogue offers a highly anticipated contemporary perspective on Conner, providing a definitive examination of his output and place in postwar art. It features a wide range of artworks and ephemeral materials never before published.”

To learn more about the exhibition, listen to the Modern Art Notes podcast interview with curator Gary Garrels.

Save 30% on the catalogue with online purchase—enter discount code 16W6596 at checkout.


Bruce Conner and the Making of a Community

by Anastasia Aukeman, author of Welcome to Painterland: Bruce Conner and the Rat Bastard Protective Association

About sixteen years ago, as the artist Bruce Conner and I were leaving his favorite restaurant in San Francisco, we began talking about the Rat Bastard Protective Association. I had been working with Bruce for about three years by that time, as director of the art gallery that represented him in New York City, and had already mounted the show “Dead Punks and Ashes” for the gallery, of Conner’s photos and photocopy collages that memorialize punk rockers from his Mabuhay Garden days in the late 1970s. I had also worked with him on an exhibition of his inkblot drawings from 1975-1997. Now I wanted to know more about his early career.

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“Perhaps we could do a show of your assemblages,” I told him, pronouncing the word with a French inflection. He stopped in his tracks and shot me a withering look. “Assemblage?” He practically spat the word. “Assemblage? This is not France. San Francisco is not the Paris of the West. It’s assemblage. Here, we say assemblage.” For someone who didn’t know Bruce, the outburst might have ended the conversation. But I had learned that his impatience often stemmed from the frustration of having his work misinterpreted, so I simply made a mental note of the correction and charged on.

I asked Conner if the assemblages (no French inflection) he was making in the 1950s were influenced by the work of Los Angeles-based artist Edward Kienholz, who was also making assemblages around that time. The answer was a resounding no. In fact, Conner said, Kienholz was influenced by his work, not the other way around.

Conner went on to say that he was deeply influenced by the work of his friends in San Francisco, and that it was his desire to unify this small group of artists and poets that led him to create the Rat Bastard Protective Association soon after moving there in the fall of 1957. To formalize the group, Conner made what he called the “approved seal of the Rat Bastard Protective Association,” a rubber stamp designed to be used by members to sign their artworks and anything else they deemed worthy of their approval. Like so much of Conner’s works, the rubber stamp was multivalent: it signaled belonging, it commodified, it spoke of hubris, and it was funny. Most of all, though, the stamp was designed to unify a group of artists who felt alienated from the mainstream and deprived of institutional acceptance (if only because few knew about them).

The sense of community that Conner described that day caught my imagination and I recognized—and Conner affirmed—that an entire book could be written about the Rat Bastard Protective Association, these young artists and poets who were working on the margins in San Francisco and whose story outlines the subversive beginnings of the Beat Generation in the 1950s. Welcome to Painterland: Bruce Conner and the Rat Bastard Protective Association is the culmination of that long-ago conversation.


Listen to the Modern Art Notes podcast interview with Anastasia Aukeman and Gary Garrels, curator of the ‘BRUCE CONNER: IT’S ALL TRUE’ exhibition currently at MoMA, and opening at SFMOMA on October 29, 2016.  Gary Garrels is also one of the editors of the impressive exhibition catalogue UC Press published in association with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

You can enter to win a copy of Welcome to Painterland in our Goodreads giveaway through August 26, 2016.


IMG_9532Anastasia Aukeman is an art historian and curator who teaches at Parsons School of Design in New York City.

 

 

 

 

 


BRUCE CONNER: IT’S ALL TRUE opens at MoMA this weekend

Defying strict classification and transcending the limitations of any single genre, multimedia artist Bruce Conner is being celebrated in an extensive retrospective which opens this weekend at MoMA NY, before coming to the newly-opened San Francisco Museum of Modern Art this Fall (October 29, 2016–January 29, 2017), followed by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain in 2017.

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BRUCE CONNER: IT’S ALL TRUE, co-published with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Referencing the artist’s inimitable and ever-changing methods, the subtitle of the exhibition — IT’S ALL TRUE — was derived from a letter that the artist wrote to his friend and collaborator, Paula Kirkeby, in 2000, listing the many ways he had been characterized in the media (see a portion of the letter in the catalogue frontispiece pictured below).

Conner, who died in 2008 after having lived in the Bay Area for more than fifty years, is not only a seminal figure regionally, but also nationally and beyond. His avant-garde film work remains a touchstone in the international film scene, as well as across a spectrum of contemporary art. The exhibition at SFMOMA will be the most comprehensive view of Conner’s work to date and will include more than 300 works from all media. We are hometown proud to be co-publishing this extraordinary catalogue.

At the recent press preview in New York, MoMA director Glenn Lowry discussed the opening of this unprecedented exhibition with curators Stuart Comer and Laura Hoptman, captured in the video below.

Should you be in one of the three venue cities be sure to see the exhibit, and to get a copy of this impressive catalogue visit your local bookstore, or purchase online at SFMOMAIndieBoundAmazonBarnes & Noble, or UC Press (to save 30% on ucpress.edu, enter discount code 16M4197 at checkout).

You can also enter to win a copy in our Goodreads giveaway through July 7, 2016.