Bruce Conner died in the summer of 2008. For those who may not know, he was a Beat generation artist, the first filmmaker to see the value in “found footage”, and an extraordinary visionary. His collages and films are in museums and archives all over the world. Two different people in Buenos Aires, where I was living last summer, mentioned his death to me without even knowing that I knew him. Bruce was a very important person in my life and psyche. In 1985-86, the year I spent working with him, we often drove around San Francisco in his Cadillac looking for Geiger counters to measure the radioactivity under his home. Then we would go back to his studio basement and I would listen to him tell stories about the 1960’s and 70s art scene and about growing up in Oklahoma while he did the work (resplicing his films for preservation) I was actually supposed to be doing for him. I was neither careful, clean nor precise enough for his liking. Then we would have a healthy lunch with Jean, his wife, and I would go home while he took a nap. A few hours later, I would tip-toe back into the house and sit on the couch twiddling my thumbs waiting for him to wake up. Many years later, he gave my daughters Maya and Noa lovely ink-blot drawings they and I will always treasure.
Brings tears to my eyes. Here’s to found images floating away and then back into our grasp.