This small town symbolized the archetype of pastoral American life. Yet this idyllic place was also held hostage by a dark past, manifesting in the racial tensions that scar much of American history.
Setting himself and his work in critical opposition to mainstream American society, versatile and restlessly inventive artist Bruce Conner was a key part of the San Francisco Beat scene in the late 1950s. He first became known for his assemblages (made between 1957-1964) crafted from an assortment of cast-off materials. He gained international admiration for his surrealistic sculptures and innovative avant-garde films, which he made under the influence of his friend and fellow experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage. Like his assemblages, his films were collages, which he produced by splicing together found and new footage. Referring to his wide-ranging and experimental output, he claimed: “A lot of things I’ve been involved in I’ve done because nobody else was doing them.”