The brilliant body of assemblage work created by Bruce Conner has been of great influence to American Art. Bruce was known as a west-coast artist whose contemporaries include Jay DeFao, Wallace Berman, Wally Hedrik, Joan Brown and George Herms. He migrated to San Francisco in 1957 from Kansas where although, apparently his semi-isolated beginnings provided he and a few like-minded artists the opportunity to study and understand their forbears in the avant-garde art world. More so, than, say, other contemporaries who lived in the cities on the east coast, or metropolitan areas on the west coast.
When William Seitz traveled to San Francisco looking for artists for his ground breaking Assemblage Show, Conner helped show him around.
During the late 1950s and early 60s Conner’s art exploded in the contemporary art world. It seems he was influenced by the “folk art” of magical discarded pieces, reminiscent of the Sutro Baths and Playland Amusement Park found around the Point Lobos and Cliff House area in San Francisco, where bygone objects of previous eras lay abandoned and covered in dust and grime. Often his works are clothed in veils of semi-transparent nylon webbing, or globules of objects encased in this webbing may hang pendulously from the work.
Conner’s haunting representations evoke very visceral reactions. His work remains a milestone in contemporary American art. Bruce passed in 2008. Below, an all-too short video of a few of Conner’s works: