HG Magazine: Issue no. 25
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Currently in the Gallery

Left: Jean Conner, FEATHERS, 1980; Top Right: Bruce Conner, INKBLOT DRAWING MAY 2, 1998, 1998;
Bottom Right: Bruce Conner, UNTITLED, 2005
ASSEMBLED: Bruce Conner / Jean Conner / Anonymous / Anonymouse / Emily Feather / Signed in Blood
Bruce Conner and Jean Sandstedt met on a blind date in their Junior year at the University of Nebraska, where they were both studying art. They married in 1957, and left the same day for San Francisco, where they became an important part of the Beat-era art community here.
Left: Jean Conner, PAINTING WITH FRINGE, 1964; Middle: Bruce Conner, MOM'S COLLAGE, 1961; Right: Jean Conner, BRUCE, 1974
In 1961, they left San Francisco to live in Mexico City. They stayed there for just over a year before moving to Boston and then eventually, back to San Francisco. Drawing was always a part of both artists’ practices. Materials were inexpensive and easy to transport and while they were in Mexico, they each—independently—developed seminal and interrelated bodies of work.
Left: Bruce Conner, UNTITLED MARCH 11, 1962, 1962; Right: Jean Conner, UNTITLED, 1962
Top Left: Jean Conner, FROZEN HAND, 1983; Bottom Left: Jean Conner, BEARCAT, c. 1980;
Top Left: Jean Conner, NORTHERN FROG, 1981; Bottom Right: Bruce Conner, INKBLOT DRAWING APRIL 10, 1998, 1998
Our current exhibition takes a sliver of the work they made in Mexico City as a jumping off point, tracing the couples’ intertwined attraction to things like mysticism, religion, nature and the human body through recurring motifs. While the show sets the stage with two walls of Mexico City work, the remainder of the exhibition is not chronological. Instead, works that were made at various points in their lifetimes are grouped by the interests they developed, the themes they explored and the technical strategies they utilized, all of which had roots in their time in Mexico City.
Left: Bruce Conner, UNTITLED MAY 15, 2008, 2008; Middle: Bruce Conner, INKBLOT DRAWING NOVEMBER 1, 1993, 1993;
Right: Signed in Blood, INKBLOT DRAWING JULY 12, 2005, 2005
My advice to people viewing the show at the gallery—and what we’ll give you a taste of in this issue of our magazine—is to watch for repeating motifs that get passed between the two—wreaths, leaves, flames, pyramids, mirrors, maps, labyrinths, eyes, hands, wings, and references to flight—as well as the ever-present deconstruction and reconfiguration of the human form.
Left: Jean Conner, DIVER, 1982; Middle: Jean Conner, DIVERS, 1981; Right: Jean Conner, OCTOPUS, 1982
ASSEMBLED: Bruce Conner / Jean Conner / Anonymous / Anonymouse / Emily Feather / Signed in Blood is on view through March 6.

Schedule a private, in-person appointment to see the exhibition here.
ASSEMBLED: Bruce Conner / Jean Conner / Anonymous / Anonymouse / Emily Feather / Signed in Blood installation view

In the News

Liliana Porter, Man with Axe, 2011 (detail), digital Duraflex, 23 1/4 x 55 inches
Liliana Porter: Man with Axe and Other Stories
Frist Art Museum
5 February - 2 May 2021

The Frist Art Museum presents Liliana Porter: Man with Axe and Other Stories, a large-scale installation that will be shown with additional works by the Argentina-born artist. Liliana Porter is renowned for arranging discarded everyday objects to create theatrical vignettes that are philosophically provocative and slyly humorous.

The centerpiece of the exhibition, Man with Axe and Other Stories (2017), on loan from the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, offers a bird’s-eye view of a civilization being reduced to rubble. The sprawling work features a small plastic figure of an axe-wielding man who appears to have demolished an array of items, from dollhouse furniture to vases, clocks, and a full-size piano. “The tableau illustrates that, like time itself, a tiny thing—a virus, a dangerous ideology, or a lone person—can bring down a kingdom or a world,” writes Frist Art Museum chief curator Mark Scala. “Rich with melancholy and humor and despair and hope, the installation shows the man with the axe as a sociopathic embodiment of time itself, forever frozen in a single moment, forever unfolding in a pattern of violence and renewal.”
Liliana Porter will be in conversation with Mark Scala on February 11 at 10 am PST for the Frist Art Museum's Artist's Perspective program. Register for the virtual conversation here.

Hosfelt Gallery will present Liliana's newest video, The Riddle / Charada, alongside her conceptual prints from the late 1960s and early 1970s, opening at the gallery on March 13.

Museum Acquisition

Lordy Rodriguez, Salt March, 2020, ink on paper, 78 x 34 inches; Purchased with funds gifted by the Lipman Family Foundation
We are pleased to announce that the San Jose Museum of Art has acquired a work from Lordy Rodriguez's last exhibition, Polar Democracy, for their permanent collection. The drawing, Salt March, memorializes the 1930 political protest led by Mohandas Gandhi challenging British rule over India.

New to Inventory

Cornelius Völker, Petals, 2019, oil on canvas, 39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inches
Painting—though declared dead in 1839 by Paul Delaroche and frequently reasserted ever since—continues to attract and enchant us. And Cornelius Völker’s insistent decoding of the history of representational painting is both conceptually sophisticated and particularly seductive. Völker chooses subjects with deep historical precedents, then paints within that genre, sometimes over the course of several years, until he finds that there’s nothing left for him to learn from it.

For a long time, Völker wanted to paint flowers, but believed it impossible to do without coming off as clichéd. Then one day he noticed the reflection of a vase of flowers in the shiny surface of a tabletop. For centuries, painters have turned to the trope of the floral still life to illustrate the inevitability of death. What’s more fleeting than a flower? The answer: the reflection of a flower. But Völker’s Petals is more than a memento mori. By painting fallen petals on the surface of the reflection, the painting becomes a postmodern discourse on representation and the mediation of images.

In Other News

Skywhalepapa and Skywhale; Courtesy of the artist; The Sydney Morning Herald; The National Gallery of Australia
Patricia Piccinini was recently commissioned by The National Gallery of Australia to create an enormous sculpture in the form of a hot air balloon. Skywhalepapa is a companion piece to her legendary work Skywhale. The pair will fly together for the first time over Canberra on February 6.

"Over the past two decades Piccinini has used relationships in her work to raise questions about everything from genetic engineering and artificial intelligence to animal rights and gender norms. She works in a variety of mediums but is best known for her hugely popular silicone forms: strange creatures that straddle the boundary between human and animal, nature and technology.

“'That’s what Skywhalepapa is about – reflecting this triumphant shift in how we define masculinity, and male-female partnerships.'” — Sydney Morning Herald

Hosfelt Gallery will be premiering Patricia Piccinini's newest video in the gallery in May 2021 and presenting an installation of sculptural work in September 2021.

In Conversation

Left: Jean Conner, OUT OF THE BLUE, MAY 25, 2015, 2015;
Right: Bruce Conner, DEVO, JANUARY 6, 1978, 27 PUNK PHOTOS, #27, 1978
Please join our upcoming virtual programming during our Bruce and Jean Conner exhibition:

Friday, February 5 at noon PST / 3 pm EST
In Conversation: Jodi Throckmorton, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and Todd Hosfelt

Register for the virtual conversation here.

Wednesday, February 24 at noon PST / 3 pm EST
In Conversation: Laura Hoptman, Executive Director of The Drawing Center in New York, and Todd Hosfelt

Register for the virtual conversation here.

In case you missed it...

Watch the recording of Rachel Federman, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Drawings at The Morgan Library and Museum, and Todd Hosfelt in a discussion focusing on the drawings made by Bruce and Jean Conner between 1961 and 1963.

Just in time for Valentine's Day

Bruce Conner, LOVE OAK, 2004/2021, pigmented ink jet print on paper, 20 x 24 inches; Edition of 10; $5000
In 1961, Bruce and Jean Conner lived in an apartment on Oak Street at Broderick, in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. In front of the apartment, painted on the street, was the word “SLOW,” forming part of the phrase:


But the “S” was worn away as was part of the “W.” The night before the Conners left to move to Mexico City, Bruce used a stencil and spray paint to stage a performative intervention. Oak is one-way going downtown, so the next morning, commuters had to drive over “LOVE” on their way to work in the financial district.

He had to wait until after the morning rush hour — about 10:00 AM — to run into the middle of the street and quickly take this documentary photograph.

In those days, the San Francisco Department of Public Works was very efficient and by 2:00 PM they’d already painted over Bruce’s intervention. But since they followed their orders strictly, they only painted over the letters spelling “LOVE." So “LOVE” was still legible, only now in black rather than white. Bruce made a heart-shaped stencil and spray painted it in white inside the black “O," later claiming the distinction of making the first “love” sign in the Haight Ashbury.

Available in our Online Shop here.

We Recommend

Todd recently re-watched and was impressed by the 1969 classic film—
Easy Rider—starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Phil Spector and Toni Basil.

Years after Easy Rider was released, Dennis Hopper said that Bruce Conner's filmmaking had strongly influenced Hoppers' own work. Many critics believe that the acid trip in the New Orleans cemetery is the most obvious application of Conner's techniques.
Bruce Conner and Dennis Hopper at James Willis Gallery, San Francisco, 1973; Photograph by Edmund Shea
Hosfelt Gallery is located at 260 Utah St, between 15th & 16th streets. Wheelchair accessible entrance at 255A Potrero Avenue. For more information call 415.495.5454 or visit hosfeltgallery.com.

Open by appointment Tuesday through Saturday
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