One of the foremost American artists of the postwar era, Bruce Conner (1933–2008) worked across a vast range of media including drawing, sculpture, collage, painting, photography, printmaking, and film. Conner experimented with intricate geometric drawings throughout his life, as in his Book Pages series (1967) which present sheets of paper almost entirely filled with continuous, wandering lines, as well as in his Rorschach-like inkblot drawings of the 1990s and 2000s. frame: 15 3/4 x 13 1/2 in. An intensely meticulous activity, his process began by carefully folding paper along parallel vertical lines. 6 x 4 in. (33.7 x 54 cm), framed dimensions: 13 1/4 x 21 1/4 in. Paula Cooper Gallery’s presentation of DECK drawings marks the first time these works have been shown as a group. frame: 13 1/4 x 21 1/4 in. A would-be collaboration with his friend, the poet Michael McClure (1932–2020), DECK was conceived of as a set of cards, each printed with a single inkblot lithograph on one side and a pair of words on the reverse. Art critic and curator Michael Smith understands Conner's mandalas and other drawings not only as visual products, but as "records of obsessive performances", during which Conner … In 2016, Conner was the subject of the major monographic survey “BRUCE CONNER: IT’S ALL TRUE,” which opened at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and traveled to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid. Placing drops of ink, one at a time, and then pressing the fold to create the mirror impression, Conner repeated the action hundreds of times for a single drawing. Several of Conner’s DECK drawings introduce wispy, interconnected blots, while others are darkly inked and drawn with greater sharpness—like small, self-contained space invaders or hieroglyphics. Formally rigorous, these maze- like drawings negate external references and dissolve figure/ground boundaries. Interested in shifting personas and subverting traditional notions of authorship, Conner attributed this body of work to his friend and fellow Kansas native, Dennis Hopper. Born in McPherson, Kansas, Bruce Conner (1933–2008) was raised in Wichita where he attended Wichita University. Linking the artist’s extensive graphic oeuvre to his work in other media is a command of light and shadow that permeates images hovering between fugitive and eternal, fantasy and reality. It brings together over 250 objects, from film and video to painting, assemblage, drawing, prints, photography, photograms, and performance. frame: 13 1/4 x 21 1/4 in. Active in all media, including painting, collage and assemblage, sculpture, graphic arts, filmmaking, and photography, Conner brought a radical and iconoclastic approach to art-making, questioning and rejecting ideals of artistic purity, style, and identity, as well as the market-driven dynamic of the art world. (15.2 x 10.2 cm) frame: 15 3/4 x 13 1/2 in. Conner’s works are in the collections of many major museums, including The Guggenheim Museum; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Whitney Museum of American Art; The Museum of Modern Art; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; The Art Institute of Chicago; The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; and The Centre Pompidou, Paris. Acting simultaneously as artwork and as foil for a larger conceptual project, this series is considered by many to be among Conner’s major works. Bruce Conner. He received his BFA at Nebraska University in 1956 and continued his studies with scholarships at the Brooklyn Museum Art School and the University of Colorado. The retinal effect of his starkly monochromatic drawings of the 1960s and 1970s is achieved through the use of densely woven lines, creating highly complex shifting patterns. Paula Cooper Gallery’s presentation of DECK drawings marks the first time these works have been shown as a group. E-Catalogue: Bruce Conner, Afterimage, The Prints of Bruce Conner, 2012. His diverse range of films, collages, and sculptural assemblages are defined by the artist’s fascination with the grotesque and mortality. Conner’s collages depict a surreal, hallucinatory universe populated by images of flora and fauna, machine parts, and disembodied figures. His exhaustive variations in this technique resulted in myriad permutations of density and form. His use of disparate appropriated and recycled materials parallel the techniques used to make the films and assemblages for which he is well known. E-Catalogue: Bruce Conner, Dennis Hopper One Man Show , 2016. The spectrum of complex patterns in these early DECK works illustrates Conner’s burgeoning experimentation and deft mastery of the medium. In 1970, concerned about the fugitive nature of his felt tip drawings, Conner initiated the meticulous reproduction of the images at Kaiser Graphics, a commercial printer in Oakland, California. All images © 2020 Conner Family Trust, San Francisco / Artists Rights Society (ARS). E-Catalogue: Bruce Conner, Afterimage, The Prints of Bruce Conner, 2012 In the mid-1970s and continuing sporadically for the rest of his career, Conner produced inkblot drawings of startling variety and innovation: grids of small, calligraphic shapes executed by blotting small puddles of ink between the folds of accordion-pleated sheets of paper. (33.7 x 54 cm). Images inspired by nature, Leaf September 11-December 7, 2001, and Dark Leaf, relate to elegiac drawings the artist made in response to the 9/11 attacks. This led to the production of some one hundred prints, from small, single sheets to suites of up to twenty-five related panels (titled SET OF THREE, SET OF FOUR, etc.). Rather than recognizing his works as fixed products, Conner consistently edited or repurposed his own drawings, sculptures and films. Conner’s inspiration often came from Surrealist artwork and Victorian-era aesthetics, resulting in a unique juxtaposition of form and content, fact and fiction. Totemic and enigmatic, these rows of symmetrically arranged patterns read as documents scripted in a mysterious language. Composed of tiny, intricate, filigree patterns on white paper, inkblots became Conner’s main artistic medium in the last decades of his life, during which he experimented with amplified scale. Drawings and prints of later years are credited to “Anonymous” and “Anonymouse”, two of several alter egos invented by Conner to manipulate the idea of artistic identity and authorship. Though DECK was never completed, Conner returned to his original drawings in the 1990s, reordering them as singles and TRIOS—a move that was consistent with his collage-mentality and disregard for traditional boundaries of artmaking. Rather than recognizing his works as fixed products, Conner consistently edited or repurposed his own drawings, sculptures and films. A decade later, these collages became the source material for a series of photo etchings produced with Kathan Brown at Crown Point Press in Oakland, CA and published in 1971-73. BRUCE CONNER: IT’S ALL TRUE is the artist’s first monographic museum exhibition in New York, the first large survey of his work in 16 years, and the first complete retrospective of his 50-year career. An outlier in the exhibition, the imagery harkens to Conner’s groundbreaking films of the 1970s such as Crossroads, 1976. A person playing with the set would produce different poetic phrases by arranging and rearranging the cards. A person playing with the set would produce different poetic phrases by arranging and rearranging the cards. Often structured by circular mandala forms, they attest to the artist’s deep knowledge of occult and Eastern philosophies. His work has been included in major exhibitions, such as the historic 1961 “The Art of Assemblage” at the Museum of Modern Art. (33.7 x 54 cm). In 2000, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, organized a retrospective of Conner’s work titled “2000 BC: THE BRUCE CONNER STORY, PART II,” which traveled to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the M.H. Conner’s DECK drawings speak to the artist’s pioneering peripatetic yet iterative practice. (15.2 x 10.2 cm), frame: 13 1/4 x 21 1/4 in. Another notable print series dating from 1971 is titled DENNIS HOPPER ONE MAN SHOW The genesis for this print project dates back to the late 1950s, when Conner began a series of paper collages using fragments of 19th-century engraved illustrations styled on those by French Surrealist Max Ernst. Middle banner: Bruce Conner, TRIO 52-19-1 (detail), 1975, ink, each card: 6 x 4 in. The discrete twenty-four inkblots were created for Conner’s unrealized DECK project. (33.7 x 54 cm). He first became known for his assemblages (made between 1957-1964) crafted from an assortment of cast-off materials. Bruce Conner was an American conceptual artist and member of the San Francisco Beat movement. Emerging from the West Coast countercultural movement, he restlessly explored mysticism and spirituality, punk rock and psychedelia, while tenaciously rejecting American jingoism and consumerism. Conner’s immersive felt-tip drawing process took on a performative aspect as the artist spent continuous hours making them, never lifting pen from paper in order to produce a graphically uninterrupted line.