BRUCE CONNER: THE CONTRARION


Uncoverd is here for women who have their own voice and point of view, an interest in culture and travel, and a distinctive, unapologetic approach to style. We celebrate individuals who resonate with these characteristics, like artist Bruce Conner.

We first learned of Conner when we encountered his work at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in NY some weeks ago. His works are jarring, intriguing, provocative, spiritual and intellectual. His film "Breakaway" shared on our facebook and instagram pages today struck us for its irreverence. As Ed Cobb's liberal song lyrics, sung by Tony Basil, boom, "...breakaway from the everyday...from all the chains that bind and everyday I’ll wear what I want and do what suits me fine," Basil's body lurches wildly as she hurls and twirls herself in ways that aptly visually represent her lyrics. Her bold, self-assertive, uninhibited dance, choice of clothing or none and Bruce's editing--film speed, lighting, visual and audio effects--altogether evoke the feeling of loosing ties from the status quo, convention, or stagnancy, as if to say we don't want order as we know it. Towards, the end the audio devolves and becomes almost incomprehensible suggesting destruction or perhaps blurring of former expression. QuangNhat, a Vietnamese designer label we carry, blurs tradition and modernity. Some clothing from this label like Conner's (though with a dramatically different aesthetic) are assemblages of paillettes, denim, sheer synthetics, beads and more hand stitched to reveal a wearable work of art unlike anything you've seen before--conventionally defying, independent thought and output. Shop QuangNhat.

The museum's retrospective is massive: over 250 objects, from film and video to painting, assemblage, drawing, prints, photography, photograms, and performance created over a 50 year career. So, if you are in New York, we recommend setting aside a couple hours to take in his work at a leisurely pace. Buy tickets here.

More about Conner's Work (source: MOMA)

Bruce Conner (1933–2008) was one of the foremost American artists of the postwar era. Emerging from the California art scene, in which he worked for half a century, Conner’s work touches on various themes of postwar American society, from a rising consumer culture to the dread of nuclear apocalypse. Working simultaneously in a range of mediums, Conner created hybrids of painting and sculpture, film and performance, drawing and printing, including bodies of works on paper utilizing drawing and collage and two important photographic bodies of work, including a haunting group of black-and-white life-sized photograms called ANGELS. An early practitioner of found-object assemblage, his relief and free-standing sculptural objects, such as CHILD (1959) and LOOKING GLASS (1964), were widely recognized for their masterful compositions and daringly dark subject matter.

Equally a pioneer of avant-garde filmmaking, Conner developed a quick-cut method of editing that defined his oeuvre. Incorporating footage from a variety of sources—countdown leaders, training films, and newsreels—and adding later his own 16mm film footage, Conner’s films also focus on disturbing but utterly current themes. For their structural innovation and daring subject matter, films like A MOVIE (1958) and CROSSROADS (1976) have become landmarks of American experimental cinema.

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