The Museum of Modern Art has wisely advertised its Bruce Conner retrospective with an image ofBombhead, a 1989/2002 print in which an army general’s head is replaced with a mushroom cloud. This is a show that promises to blow your mind, and it lives up to that threat. Trippy, disturbing, entertaining, and whimsical all at once, “Bruce Connor: It’s All True” is a marvelous look at a figure whose gleefully anarchic work called for the end of culture as we know it.
In 1963, Bruce Conner decided to find himself. He was back in San Francisco, after a year in Mexico documenting his search for mind-altering mushrooms (Timothy Leary has a flickering cameo in the resulting short film).
Bruce Conner’s CHILD has been difficult from the start—hard to look at, hard to appreciate, and harder still to preserve. The controversial sculpture, completed in 1960, was Conner’s response to the gas chamber execution of Caryl Chessman, a man sentenced to death for kidnapping and raping a woman in Los Angeles.