Hong Kong 2018
March 29 - 31, 2018
Kohn Gallery is pleased to announce its participation in this year’s Art Basel Hong Kong premiering, for the first time in Asia, Bruce Conner’s visionary travelogue LOOKING FOR MUSHROOMS (1959-67) documenting a psychedelic “trip” through rural Mexico and urban America with the rare soundtrack, organized with the Beatles 1966 composition “Tomorrow Never Knows” off their 1966 album Revolver. The film combines street views of San Francisco that Conner and Bob Branaman shot in the late 1950s with scenes of rural Mexico that Conner shot during a series of “mushroom-hunting” excursions between 1961 and 1962, while he and Jean Conner were living in Mexico City. On at least one of these trips, the Conners were joined by Timothy Leary, the ex-Harvard professor and a leading proponent of psychedelic drugs. Earlier versions of the film was silent and played on a loop before the psychedelic rock ’n’ roll soundtrack, The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” was added. The lyrics to the song were famously inspired by Leary, Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert’s 1964 book The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which advised those under the influence of psychedelics to “turn off your mind, relax, float downstream.” Arguably among his most hypnotic and visually arresting films, Conner later noted that LOOKING FOR MUSHROOMS (along with COSMIC RAY) was often rented by advertising agencies who were presumably interested in his use of rapid-fire editing and strobe to generate psychedelic effects and generate subliminal messages.
Alongside the film, the booth will include Bruce Conner’s inkblots of methodically folded paper with intricate and psychedelic designs as well as Conner's PUNK photographs taken in the 1970's, which document the nascent California punk scene. From the vantage point of an insider, he captured the raucous behavior and exuberant performances that spilled off the stage nightly, including images of Toni Basel, Devo, and Negative Trend.