R.I.P Bruce Conner

Bombhead bruceconner by Bruce Conner 1933 – 2008

Bruce Conner, San Francisco Artist With 1950s Beat Roots, Dies at 74 (Ken Johnson NYtimes)

See Mea Culpa, Bruce with David Byrne and Brian Eno from My Life in the Bush of Ghosts

Connor mainly uses old educational films, science films, government footage and film footage that people throw out and then recuts them to new music, creating dark and sometimes hilarious moods and visual commentaries.

A-Movie – It is referred to as the piece that brought Conner to notoriety. In skillfully editing stock footage, Conner created abstract metaphors of mankind’s violence.

EVE-RAY-FOREVER bruce2(via)

His interview 1990

Devo’s Mongoloid :From “The Complete Truth About De-evolution.” (youtube)

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    “Erasing Dreamland” was created using found footage from Youtube in order to forge a digital homage to the analog techniques of the artist and film maker Bruce Conner, specifically his film “Take The 5-10 To Dreamland.”

  • The digital recreation of “Take The 5-10 To Dreamland” was created by searching through the meta data associated with videos on YouTube and sorting through the resulting clips for bits and pieces that would sync in time with Bruce Conners’s film.

    Here is When Caveh [Zahedi] met Bruce (Conner) (who didn’t meet Louise [Brooks])

    Conner was cantankerous and one-of-a-kind. He would wear an American flag pin. When asked why, he said, “I’m not going to let those bastards take it away from me.” Sigh. (via Movie city indie)

    San Francisco author Rebecca Solnit wrote;

    My friend Bruce Conner died yesterday morning in San Francisco, I heard from many mutual friends this morning (I’m overseas). He had been ill for decades and had been given months to live twenty years earlier and more seriously. I met him when I was in my early twenties; I approached him with considerable trepidation when I wrote my thesis on the artist Wallace Berman and found him duly terrifying but also charming, hilarious and possessed of a stunning memory for events of the 1950s, when he joined the other visual artists who, allied with the beat poets of the era, created one of California’s first and most significant avant-gardes. We became friends and had a bumpy, a musing, precious friendship over the next near-quarter century, with interruptions. Bruce himself as most of you know was an extraordinary prodigal genius in many media, reshaping the way film could be understood with his short found-footage movies from A Movie (1958) on, making brilliant, eclectic, and deeply individual work in painting, collage, assemblage, printmaking, photography and other still media, mostly in black and white, a drama of beauty, strangeness, moral wrestling, pop culture and spiritual inquiry that is in my opinion among the most important visual stuff to come out of that strange midcentury moment; I think posterity will raise him higher in the history books, though his choice to spend his life in San Francisco was a choice not to give a damn about that, and he made many uncareerist decisions in a career that is better described as a quest for unattainable perfection that left him dissatisfied but kept his standards high. He was able to see what was sad in porn ography, beautiful in atomic explosions, strange in shadows and photograms, comic in Jesus engravings, rich in black and white. I remember him telling another interviewer about his first viewing of a movie–a Shirley Temple film seen with his mother in Kansas when he was five; his mother kept urging him to admire Temple’s cuteness and he recalled, “She was fifty feet tall and the scariest thing I’d ever seen.” And he commented, “I’m just a stranger on earth, that’s all,” or words to that effect suggesting that aliens see things differently than the natives. No longer of this earth…..
    (Via email from Hal Lum)

    Alan Sondheim – I saw his films years ago, this is sad (via email)

  • Obit from Sf MoMa Open Space