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At The Speed, New Exhibit Examines 'The Father Of The Music Video'

Courtesy Kohn Gallery | Courtesy Conner Family Trust

A new exhibit at the Speed Art Museum looks at the work of the “father of the music video.”

Bruce Conner was a San Francisco-based artist known for his innovations in assemblage, drawing, painting and other media. He was also a film pioneer who mixed found footage, pop culture references and contemporary music.

Conner died in 2008, but last week, the Speed Art Museum opened “Bruce Conner: Forever and Ever.”

“[Conner] was always someone who was bubbling up and had these ideas before they became more widespread,” Speed film curator Dean Otto said. “He was a hippie before hippies were big; he was punk before punk was big. He was always a bit ahead of his time.”

Otto said Conner operated alongside circle of artists who also had similar sensibilities.

“He comes from a generation of artists who were using the materials that were just available to them, like Robert Rauschenberg,” Otto said.

Rauschenberg, an artist of the same period, is known for his “Combines,” a mix of sculpture and two-dimensional art.

Otto collaborated on “Bruce Conner: Forever and Ever” with the Speed’s contemporary curator, Miranda Lash, after the museum was gifted 21 lithographs from the Conner Family Trust. These are on-view alongside two recent digital restorations of Conner’s films “THREE SCREEN RAY” and “A MOVIE.”

“Bruce Conner: Forever and Ever” runs through March.


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