A Half-Century of Collage by Bruce and Jean Conner
University Art Gallery, Sonoma State University
February 18 – March 13, 2016
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 18, 5-7 pm
The exhibition, which originated at the American University at the Katzen Arts Center and was organized by Katzen curator and director Jack Rasmussen, comes to SSU in advance of a major retrospective, Bruce Conner: It’s All True, which opens at The Museum of Modern Art in New York this July and then travels to the newly-reopened San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The title of the exhibition refers to the brand of glue used by Bruce and Jean Conner for the collages they created beginning in the late 1950s.
Collage—the art of cutting, gluing, and re-contextualizing found images from a variety of sources—has played a significant, if often subversive, role in the history of 20th century art, and it was used by a group of Beat Generation artists living in the Bay Area during the 1950s and 60s, among them Bruce and Jean Conner. According to Dr. Rasumussen’s essay for the American University showing of the exhibition, “Bruce and Jean Conner emerged from the San Francisco Beat scene in the late 1950’s. Bruce was already an artistic rebel, known for assemblages and experimental films while Jean had a much more reserved artistic presence. Bruce never used color in his collages, perhaps because he favored the unease evoked from a perfectly believable illusion of an alternate reality. Jean uses mass-produced images of American popular culture and advertising. The Conners sustained separate but related explorations within the tradition of surrealist collage. Jean began to create her wry combinations of images from popular magazines in the mid-1950s. Bruce embraced witty, often grotesque, and sometimes spiritual compositions built from 19th-century engravings.” Bruce Conner died in 2009 and Jean Conner continues to live and work in San Francisco.
As part of the exhibition program, Jean Conner will present a walkthrough of the exhibition, accompanied by Robert Conway, director of The Conner Family Trust, on Thursday, March 3 at noon in the University Art Gallery. Admission is free.
Juried Student Exhibition 2016
March 30 – April 24, 2016
Opening Reception: Wednesday, March 30, 5-7 pm
BFA Exhibition 2016
April 28 – May 21, 2016
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 28, 5-7 pm