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Installation Views

Installation Views Thumbnails
Installation view of BRUCE CONNER & JAY DEFEO  (“we are not what we seem”), September 9 – October 23, 2021, 524 W 26th Street
Installation view of BRUCE CONNER & JAY DEFEO  (“we are not what we seem”), September 9 – October 23, 2021, 524 W 26th Street
Installation view of BRUCE CONNER & JAY DEFEO  (“we are not what we seem”), September 9 – October 23, 2021, 524 W 26th Street
Installation View of Bruce Conner's BOOK THREE, 1971
Detail of Bruce Conner's BOOK THREE, 1971
Installation view of BRUCE CONNER & JAY DEFEO  (“we are not what we seem”), September 9 – October 23, 2021, 524 W 26th Street
Installation view of BRUCE CONNER & JAY DEFEO  (“we are not what we seem”), September 9 – October 23, 2021, 524 W 26th Street
Installation view of BRUCE CONNER & JAY DEFEO  (“we are not what we seem”), September 9 – October 23, 2021, 524 W 26th Street
Installation View of Bruce Conner's BOOK THREE, 1971
Detail of Bruce Conner's BOOK THREE, 1971

Selected Works

Selected Works Thumbnails
Still of Bruce Conner's THE WHITE ROSE, 1967, 16mm to 35mm blow-up, black/white, sound, 7min dimensions variable.

Bruce Conner
THE WHITE ROSE (still), 1967
16mm to 35mm blow-up, black/white, sound, 7min
dimensions variable
Edition 6, + 2 APs
© Conner Family Trust, San Francisco, © 2021 The Jay DeFeo Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Jay DeFeo Untitled, 1972 gelatin silver print 2 3/4 x 4 1/16 in. (7 x 10.3 cm)

Jay DeFeo
Untitled, 1972
gelatin silver print
2 3/4 x 4 1/16 in. (7 x 10.3 cm)
© 2021 The Jay DeFeo Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Jay DeFeo Untitled, 1973 gelatin silver print image: 4 7/16 x 6 1/2 in. (11.3 x 16.5 cm)

Jay DeFeo
Untitled, 1973
gelatin silver print
image: 4 7/16 x 6 1/2 in. (11.3 x 16.5 cm)
sheet: 4 15/16 x 7 3/16 in. (12.5 x 18.3 cm)
© 2021 The Jay DeFeo Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Jay DeFeo Untitled, 1974 graphite, charcoal and acrylic on rag board 8 x 7 in. (20.3 x 17.8 cm) © 2021 The Jay DeFeo Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Jay DeFeo
Untitled, 1974
graphite, charcoal and acrylic on rag board
8 x 7 in. (20.3 x 17.8 cm)
© 2021 The Jay DeFeo Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Bruce Conner UNTITLED NOVEMBER 4, 1981, 1981 engraving collage 9 3/8 x 7 3/8 in. (23.8 x 18.7 cm) frame: 20 1/2 x 16 1/2 x 1/2 in. (52.1 x 41.9 x 1.3 cm)

Bruce Conner
UNTITLED NOVEMBER 4, 1981, 1981
engraving collage
9 3/8 x 7 3/8 in. (23.8 x 18.7 cm)
frame: 20 1/2 x 16 1/2 x 1/2 in. (52.1 x 41.9 x 1.3 cm)

Jay DeFeo Wings No. 1 (Angel series), 1976 ink and tape with collage on paper 14 x 11 in. (35.6 x 27.9 cm) frame: 23 1/2 x 20 in. (59.7 x 50.8 cm)

Jay DeFeo
Wings No. 1 (Angel series), 1976
ink and tape with collage on paper
14 x 11 in. (35.6 x 27.9 cm)
frame: 23 1/2 x 20 in. (59.7 x 50.8 cm)
© 2021 The Jay DeFeo Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Bruce Conner UNTITLED, c. 1990 photocopy collage 4 1/2 x 5 in. (11.4 x 12.7 cm) frame: 11 3/4 x 12 in. (29.8 x 30.5 cm)

Bruce Conner
UNTITLED, c. 1990
photocopy collage
4 1/2 x 5 in. (11.4 x 12.7 cm)
frame: 11 3/4 x 12 in. (29.8 x 30.5 cm)

Jay DeFeo Untitled, 1976 collage of photomechanical reproduction, gelatin silver print and transparent pressure-sensitive tape 9 9/16 x 4 in. (24.3 x 10.2 cm)

Jay DeFeo
Untitled, 1976
collage of photomechanical reproduction, gelatin silver print and transparent pressure-sensitive tape
9 9/16 x 4 in. (24.3 x 10.2 cm)
© 2021 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Bruce Conner's THE LATE NIGHT MOVIE ON TV 11A: JUNE 10, 1978, a gelatin silver print depicting a TV monitor in interior with an eye on screen

Bruce Conner
THE LATE NIGHT MOVIE ON TV 11A: JUNE 10, 1978, 1978
gelatin silver print
image: 12 x 9 1/4 in. (30.5 x 23.5 cm)
sheet: 14 x 11 in. (35.6 x 27.9 cm)

Still of Bruce Conner's THE WHITE ROSE, 1967, 16mm to 35mm blow-up, black/white, sound, 7min dimensions variable.

Bruce Conner
THE WHITE ROSE (still), 1967
16mm to 35mm blow-up, black/white, sound, 7min
dimensions variable
Edition 6, + 2 APs
© Conner Family Trust, San Francisco, © 2021 The Jay DeFeo Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Jay DeFeo Untitled, 1972 gelatin silver print 2 3/4 x 4 1/16 in. (7 x 10.3 cm)

Jay DeFeo
Untitled, 1972
gelatin silver print
2 3/4 x 4 1/16 in. (7 x 10.3 cm)
© 2021 The Jay DeFeo Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Jay DeFeo Untitled, 1973 gelatin silver print image: 4 7/16 x 6 1/2 in. (11.3 x 16.5 cm)

Jay DeFeo
Untitled, 1973
gelatin silver print
image: 4 7/16 x 6 1/2 in. (11.3 x 16.5 cm)
sheet: 4 15/16 x 7 3/16 in. (12.5 x 18.3 cm)
© 2021 The Jay DeFeo Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Jay DeFeo Untitled, 1974 graphite, charcoal and acrylic on rag board 8 x 7 in. (20.3 x 17.8 cm) © 2021 The Jay DeFeo Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Jay DeFeo
Untitled, 1974
graphite, charcoal and acrylic on rag board
8 x 7 in. (20.3 x 17.8 cm)
© 2021 The Jay DeFeo Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Bruce Conner UNTITLED NOVEMBER 4, 1981, 1981 engraving collage 9 3/8 x 7 3/8 in. (23.8 x 18.7 cm) frame: 20 1/2 x 16 1/2 x 1/2 in. (52.1 x 41.9 x 1.3 cm)

Bruce Conner
UNTITLED NOVEMBER 4, 1981, 1981
engraving collage
9 3/8 x 7 3/8 in. (23.8 x 18.7 cm)
frame: 20 1/2 x 16 1/2 x 1/2 in. (52.1 x 41.9 x 1.3 cm)

Jay DeFeo Wings No. 1 (Angel series), 1976 ink and tape with collage on paper 14 x 11 in. (35.6 x 27.9 cm) frame: 23 1/2 x 20 in. (59.7 x 50.8 cm)

Jay DeFeo
Wings No. 1 (Angel series), 1976
ink and tape with collage on paper
14 x 11 in. (35.6 x 27.9 cm)
frame: 23 1/2 x 20 in. (59.7 x 50.8 cm)
© 2021 The Jay DeFeo Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Bruce Conner UNTITLED, c. 1990 photocopy collage 4 1/2 x 5 in. (11.4 x 12.7 cm) frame: 11 3/4 x 12 in. (29.8 x 30.5 cm)

Bruce Conner
UNTITLED, c. 1990
photocopy collage
4 1/2 x 5 in. (11.4 x 12.7 cm)
frame: 11 3/4 x 12 in. (29.8 x 30.5 cm)

Jay DeFeo Untitled, 1976 collage of photomechanical reproduction, gelatin silver print and transparent pressure-sensitive tape 9 9/16 x 4 in. (24.3 x 10.2 cm)

Jay DeFeo
Untitled, 1976
collage of photomechanical reproduction, gelatin silver print and transparent pressure-sensitive tape
9 9/16 x 4 in. (24.3 x 10.2 cm)
© 2021 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Bruce Conner's THE LATE NIGHT MOVIE ON TV 11A: JUNE 10, 1978, a gelatin silver print depicting a TV monitor in interior with an eye on screen

Bruce Conner
THE LATE NIGHT MOVIE ON TV 11A: JUNE 10, 1978, 1978
gelatin silver print
image: 12 x 9 1/4 in. (30.5 x 23.5 cm)
sheet: 14 x 11 in. (35.6 x 27.9 cm)

Press Release

Bruce Conner and Jay DeFeo were close friends who met in the 1950s as part of the Beat-adjacent group of artists based in San Francisco. The Conner Family Trust, The Jay DeFeo Foundation, and the Paula Cooper Gallery are delighted to present the first ever two-person exhibition of their work.

From 1958 to 1966 Jay DeFeo worked on The Rose, a monumental painting massive in both scale and concept. When the work had to be removed from DeFeo’s second-story studio in 1965, Conner filmed the extraordinary task. The seven-and-a-half-minute film is an ode to DeFeo and her art, and became an important document testifying to the significance of The Rose as legend of it proliferated. Throughout their careers Conner and DeFeo were in frequent communication, exchanging images and reproducing each other’s works. These drawings, collages, photographs, and photocopies accompany an installation of Conner’s film THE WHITE ROSE (1967), shining new light on his and DeFeo’s artistic relationship and parallel trajectories.

The work DeFeo made after The Rose is distinguished from what came before by its agility and the use of new media such as photography, which she took up in earnest in 1971. Although DeFeo did not go so far as to adopt a new persona (one of many tactics used by Conner to differentiate distinct bodies of work) she shared with him an interest in adapting artistic identity. In the 1970s DeFeo directly incorporated Conner’s works into her own, using the silhouetted form of his ANGELS as a container for her collages, and photographing his works hanging in her studio. Conner produced a number of works that were explicit homages to DeFeo, and credited her with inspiring his hanging assemblages. When not in direct conversation, their works often shared common themes, such as an attention to parts of the body, and to the ritualistic, symbolic, and surreal. A clear and consistent thread connecting their work across media is the experimental re-imaging and recycling of found objects and forms, including their own and each other’s works.

In the mid-1970s DeFeo noted that “The Rose is a part of Bruce’s career as well as a part of mine” and it is fitting that the film is installed for the first time as the focus of an exhibition of both artist’s work. [1] In her exhibition catalogue essay, Rachel Federman writes that “the site-specific environment of The Rose, with its glittering, paint-encrusted floors and walls, deeply affected Conner, who on several occasions endeavored to create a similar, totalizing effect with installations of his own work.” The current installation of the film in an immersive screening room approaches this ideal of an all-encompassing work in a posthumous realization of a shared ideal.

[1] Jay DeFeo, oral history interview with Paul Karlstrom, July 18, 1975. Audio recording, Smithsonian Archives of American Art website (aaa.si.edu). 

Video

Exhibition walkthrough of BRUCE CONNER & JAY DEFEO: ("we are not what we seem") at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.