Bruce Conner is dead

"When I made those pieces I never conceived of any of them as finished," he explains. "I put a date and title on them when I first hung them on the wall, but the process wasn't finished for me at that point because one of my intentions was to create works that could evolve. I always expected my hand to be involved with the pieces again, and I sometimes sold them with the stipulation that I be allowed to rework them if I wanted to. Nonetheless, I lost control of most of them over the years."

"It was late afternoon and the sun was shining on the rug and I was lying there doing my homework when things started changing," he recalls. "I went into this strange world and began evolving into countless different creatures and people, until finally I was very tired and very old. It seemed to last an eternity, and when it stopped I could hardly remember how I'd been when I started out. I felt so old I thought I'd crack and break if I moved. Then I looked at my hand and saw it wasn't old, and looked at the clock and it was 20 minutes later."

"Being an artist is like being a medieval craftsman," he continues. "You're expected to do one thing only, and many artists function like someone producing a line of cars. They stick with one style, and while next year's model will be a bit different, it won't differ too much from the original prototype. But I couldn't conceive of restricting myself to one medium because the medium dictates how you see things. A sculptor, for instance, sees the world in terms of three-dimensional forms. This is one of the limitations of consciousness, and my way of getting around it was to develop different media almost as if I were another artist. This confused a lot of people, and they couldn't see any connection between the various bodies of work I've done. For me, however, there's a clear relationship between all these forms. "I used to be concerned that people didn't understand my work as I did, and I worked hard to land a major museum exhibition in hopes that would clarify things a bit. But I found museum people to be so bound by the requirements of curatorship that they couldn't deal with my work. Their attitude is: 'We want to show every last assemblage you did before 1964 and maybe we'll put in a few drawings, but we're not interested in the rest of your work.'

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