Bruce Conner & Jess: The Virtue of Uncertainty Art Show (SF)
>> Want to see our Top Picks for this week instead?
Hosfelt Gallery | 260 Utah Street San Francisco, CA
Submitted by the Event Organizer
September 5 – October 14 2023; Tu, Wed, Fri, Sat 10am-5:30pm, TR 11am-7pm
Two of the most original and broad-ranging 20th century American artists -Bruce Conner and Jess- are brought together in a show of 60+ artworks to call attention to common, repeating motifs and intentions in the work of these puzzle-making geniuses.
Though two extremely different personalities, both artists were iconoclasts who relocated to the Bay Area (Jess in 1948; Conner in 1957) to escape their stifling, middle-class upbringing. They came for creative, intellectual, and social freedom, and became members of tight-knit communities of artists, poets, and musicians with low expectations about the commercial viability of their art and a consequent inclination toward radical experimentation.
Central to both Conner and Jess -for conceptual — as well as financial — reasons- was the practice of scavenging for the raw materials of art making. By re-claiming objects, images, language, even thrift shop paintings, then re-assessing, re-arranging, re-painting and re-contextualizing them, they alchemically transformed the everyday into talismanic artworks, loaded with potential meaning. Stylistically, these works often had a sense of fracture and repair… of a shattered world order, re-assembled to reveal long-hidden truths.
Because they’re pieced together from recognizable images or objects, viewers are induced to engage, thinking they’ll be able to decode these fetishistic artworks, and hoping to discover the artists’ answers to existential mysteries. But Jess and Conner were both riddle masters, whose intent was to confound. They exploited the space between familiarity and uncertainty, requiring their audience to untangle their symbols, connotations, and dark humor, knowing that in the process of deciphering, you, the viewer, unwittingly become a collaborator in the making of meaning.
Gathered from private collections and the estates of the artists, many of the paintings, drawings, collages and sculptures in this show have never been publicly exhibited.
Presented by Hosfelt Gallery