los-angeles

Bruce Conner

Michael Kohn Gallery

This miniretrospective of Bruce Conner’s assemblages, paintings, drawings, and “engraving collages” traces a career that began brilliantly but has subsequently trailed off on a foot-dragging note. Throughout the ’60s, Conner turned the scattered remains of broken found objects into some of the most compelling assemblages since Joseph Cornell. In the process Conner exploded Cornell’s modest vignettes, producing a furious, dismembered theater of mummified despair. Wax, doll parts, silk stockings, lace, rubber hose, and assorted detritus were juxtaposed in sinister sexually charged tableaux.

Conner has always responded to the world, in his words, by “gluing [it] . . . down and . . . putting my name on it.” But the fame he achieved pushed him to repeatedly change direction and medium to avoid assembly-line effects. Conner never aimed to confuse people, he just didn’t want to be pinned down, to

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