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Bruce Conner: Wood Engraving Collages 1961 to 1996

Music Room, 1966, Wood engraving collage, 5 1/8 x 7 1/2 in.

Press Release

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Susan Inglett is pleased to exhibit the unique wood engraving collages of BRUCE CONNER dated 1961 to 1996. The exhibition will run from 7 April to 20 May 2000.

“There’s a point in time when I started self-consciously gluing the world down and making it mine, putting my name on it and hanging it on the wall”. In this 1990 interview with Robert Dean, Bruce Conner could as easily be discussing the genesis of his work in film, collage, or assemblage. Not one to restrict his art making to a single medium, Conner has nonetheless remained fascinated by a single act. That single act manifests itself beautifully in the wood engraving collages.

Working in secrecy, the paper collages were pieced together beginning about 1959 from 19th century wood engravings which Conner had collected or accumulated. These works on paper were produced concurrent to the film and assemblage for which he had become known. Taking advantage of the public’s ignorance of this new and seemingly disparate body of work, and of the technique’s association with another artist, Max Ernst, Conner decided to attribute the collages to yet another artist, Dennis Hopper. The unwillingness of a dealer to exhibit the work under another’s name and the unwillingness of the artist to reveal his identity, led to their relative obscurity. It was not until the early 1980’s when Conner revisited the medium and began to exhibit the engraving collages alongside his other work, that these pieces took their rightful place.

While the materials differ from the film and assemblage, both the physical and thought processes are unmistakably Bruce Conner. The paper collages share the artist’s parallel universe, fabricated from bits of reality. Drawing upon religion, politics and the human condition, the imagery is at once real and surreal. The results both mysterious and illuminating.

The exhibition will run concurrent to the retrospective 2000 BC : The Bruce Conner Story Part II which originated at the Walker Art Center and travels to the Modern Art Museum Fort Worth, M.H. de Young Memorial Museum San Francisco, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles.

The work will be on view at the gallery located 100 Wooster Street/2 Floor Tuesday to Saturday 11 AM to 6 PM. For more information contact Susan Inglett at 212/343-0573 and fax 212/343-0574.