Bruce Conner

BRUCE CONNER’S DEATH this past summer was not his first. Back in 1972, in an attempt to stanch annual solicitations for inclusion in Who’s Who in America, he wrote to inform the publisher of his death, only to find himself an entry in Who Was Who in America the following year. A more conceptual loss, of his artistic persona, took place in February 1973, when a long-planned exhibition titled “The Complete Dennis Hopper One Man Show” finally opened at the James Willis Gallery in San Francisco. Originally proposed in the mid-1960s at a time when Conner had completed two dozen or so Ernst-like collages utilizing fragments of nineteenth-century engravings, the show was named so as to cede authorship of the work to the actor Dennis Hopper, a friend of the artist’s. Conner’s Los Angeles dealer at the time, Nicholas Wilder, was concerned about Hopper’s nonparticipation in the project and refused

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