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Wednesday, November 20, 2019
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The Ghost of Bruce Conner

Internationally recognized for his work as a filmmaker, sculptor, photographer, artist, and musician, American artist Bruce Conner is considered one of the founding fathers of the independent film movement.

Peter Boswell, Assistant Director at the Miami Art Museum, told the New York Times, “I think Bruce will eventually be recognized as one of—perhaps the—most important West Coast artist of his time. I consider him on a par with Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol…. He was an artist who never got his due.”

Emerson College hopes to pay Conner some of what he’s “due.” Conner’s work will be on display at the College’s Huret & Spector Gallery from October 8 to November 19 in an exhibition titled Bruce Conner: Apparitions.

““I think Bruce will eventually be recognized as one of — perhaps the — most important West Coast artist of his time. I consider him on a par with Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol. He was an artist who never got his due.”

Born in 1933, Conner was an elusive figure in the San Francisco Beat generation in the 1950s and 1960s. He remained on the outskirts of the mainstream art scene by constantly shifting his identity and experimenting with many multimedia forms of art. Conner’s experimentation helped initiate the psychedelic era in the 1960s. During his career, he collected a résumé that included film screenings to music videos to exhibitions at major museums. In fact, his film A MOVIE was selected for preservation in the U.S. Film Registry.

Conner was known for his innovative storytelling in filmmaking. Many of his movies are films-within-films that critique and embrace Americana and offer alternative ways of viewing advertising, television, and the cinema’s place in this world.

Visual and Media Arts Lois & Henry Foster Chair Joe Ketner said he feels it’s appropriate to exhibit Conner’s work at the College: “Emerson’s connection to the film industry makes this the perfect place to hold the show.”

John McKinnon of the Milwaukee Art Museum curated the exhibition to feature on Conner’s three-screen film EVE-RAY-FOREVER (1965/2006).
The exhibition also  includes a group of his prints titled  THE DENNIS HOPPER ONE MAN SHOW,  and a set of three offset lithograph prints.

EVE-RAY-FOREVER was originally conceived as a three-channel film for a 1965 exhibition at The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University. Thecenter screen of the film is a silent version of Conner's cult classic film COSMIC RAY.