Channeling Bruce Conner

Last Saturday we took the family to SFMOMA to finish off our Thanksgiving festivities with  a visit to the Bruce Conner exhibition “It’s All True” and others.

As you walk into the Conner exhibition you are met with his words:

MY WORK IS DESCRIBED AS BEAUTIFUL, HORRIBLE, HOGWASH, GENIUS, MAUNDERING, PRECISE, QUAINT, AVANT-GARDE, HISTORICAL, HACKNEYED, MASTERFUL, TRIVIAL, INTENSE, MYSTICAL, VIRTUOSIC, BEWILDERING, ABSORBING, CONCISE, ABSURD, AMUSING, INNOVATIVE, NOSTALGIC, CONTEMPORARY, ICONOCLASTIC, SOPHISTICATED, TRASH, MASTERPIECES, ETC.  IT’S ALL TRUE.

His assemblages, collages, and ink blots in particular evidence the kinds of techniques we explore in Muse Groups all the time. Add in the rest: the films, the photography, the music, the social commentary and explorations of identity – it all made for an intensely satisfying museum experience.

So in an effort to share it with my Muse Group on Monday we did a “channeling Bruce Conner” lesson. We got out the inks and the nylons and old lace and antique book illustrations and metallic ephemera, and it was an explosion of wonderful weirdness. The first piece here is mine.

conner

She’s getting her hair done and mind blown. She can’t stop thinking about the clothes she’ll wear and who will see her and what they will think. But what does she think? She struggles with this a lot. The voice of her grandmother rises up and twines around her like the ivy outside her window.

“Pay attention” says granny in her thin raspy voice. “Care for your loved ones and most of all love yourself. Take the time to find out who you really are, dear.”

conner3The tables in my studio groaned under the weight of it all.

conner2Fibrous paper encased in polymer medium. . .

conner4Layers of paper, lace and even some button and alphabet blocks.

conner9bettina

by Muse Bettina

conner5

by Muse Carole

conner6muriel

by Muse Muriel

conner8diana

by Muse Diana

conner7bonnie

by Muse Bonnie

Bruce Conner is no longer alive to be either delighted or appalled by what we have done. I like to think he would smile. In any case I have forwarded a full measure of gratitude for his artistic dedication and brilliance (and all those other adjectives) throughout his long life. Thanks Bruce!

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