Bruce Conner (McPherson, 1933 – San Francisco, 2008) is an artist most known for works in the media of assemblage, film, drawing, sculpture, painting, collage, and photography, a pioneer of experimental and American avant-garde film.
Conner was one of the first artists to make installations with found materials. His assemblages are complex units of objects ranging from broken dolls, fur, candles, with the addition of collages or paint. Much of Conner's work is social commentary, referring to modern America, the impact of society on the individual, nuclear holocaust, violence against women or consumerism. His work comments on the media, mostly television and advertisements.
In 1959, Conner founded the Rat Bastard Protective Association (Jay DeFeo, Michael McClure, Manuel Neri, Joan Brown, Wally Hedrick, Wallace Berman, Jess Collins, Carlos Villa and George Herms).
Conner also began making short movies in the late 1950s, continuing into the 1960s. His style, much like his assemblages, is made of collages or smaller juxtaposed segments of media edited and combined. He titled his works in capital letters, and his first short film A MOVIE (1958). With his family, Conner moved to Mexico in the early 1960s but soon returned to the USA. In 1963, he watched the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Conner filmed the television coverage of the event and edited and re-edited the footage with stock footage into a meditation on violence which he titled REPORT (1967). The work shows the mix of Kennedy assassination footage with consumerist images and radio reports of the events.
During the 1970s Conner focused on drawing and photography, and in the 1980s and 1990s, he worked with collages (often with religious imagery) and inkblot drawings.