by Amy Crocker

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art began its 75th anniversary celebration this weekend. Each department mined its archives and scoured through new work to present shows that would represent the museum’s impact. The offering from "Media Arts, Long Play: Bruce Conner and the Singles Collection" will run until May. The centerpiece of the show is the premiere of Three Screen Ray, Bruce Conner’s 2006 experimental film made before his death in 2008. The piece is an extended compilation of his second film Cosmic Ray from 1961 and Eve-Ray-Forever from 1965.

SFist spoke with Assistant Curator of Media Arts Tanya Zimbardo about Bruce Conner’s five-decade career, his influence on experimental film, and the future of video art.

SFist: Why did you select Bruce Conner’s work for the anniversary show?
Tanya Zimbardo: Conner has always been one of my favorite San Francisco artists. He’s a master in a variety of media. Whenever he became really successful in one field, sculptural assemblages or short experimental films, he would try to move on to something else. He never liked to get tied down into one identity.
SF: Why is video art an important part of the anniversary show?
TZ: The bay area was major center for pioneering experimental media - the whole range from sound art and video art to robotic art.
SF: What makes Conner, an experimental filmmaker, different from an independent filmmaker?