Bruce Conner (American, 1933-2008)
Not on View

A major figure of the Beat Generation of artists working in California during the late 1950s and 1960s, Bruce Conner is a prolific artist who has worked with a variety of media including assemblage, collage, film, sculpture, painting and printmaking. Conner’s assemblages are made from cast-off pieces of furniture, found objects and other unconventional art materials. The narratives of his assemblages are often as raw and jarring as the materials he uses to make them and often incorporate blatant references to challenging social issues such as sexual pathology, war, death and human suffering.

COUCH is among Conner’s notable macabre creations. This disturbing assemblage portrays a severed and decomposing wax figure lying on a decaying, paint-splattered settee. Although Conner stopped making assemblages in 1964, the powerful works he created during his formative years remain greatly influential.


  • Artist Name: Bruce Conner (American, 1933-2008)
  • Title: COUCH
  • Date: 1963
  • Medium: Sculpture
  • Dimensions: 32 x 70-3/4 x 27 in. (81.3 x 179.7 x 68.6 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Museum, Museum Purchase with funds donated by Mr. David H. Steinmetz III and an Anonymous Foundation
  • Accession Number: P.1969.005
  • Copyright: © 2008 Bruce Conner

Object Information

David Steinmetz III, 1969 to;
Anonymous Foundation, to;
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, 1969-1975;
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena.

American Sculpture of the Sixties

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1967-04-28 to 1967-06-25
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1967-09-15 to 1967-10-29

Beat Culture and the New America: 1950-1965

  • Whitney Museum of American Art, 1995-11-09 to 1996-02-04
  • Walker Art Center, 1996-06-02 to 1996-09-15
  • Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young Museum, 1996-10-05 to 1996-12-29

Permanent Collection Pasadena Art Museum

  • Pasadena, Pasadena Art Museum, 1970-04-14 to 1970-05-10

Poets of the Cities, New York and San Francisco, 1950-1965

  • Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, 1974-11-20 to 1974-12-29
  • San Francisco Museum of Art, 1975-01-31 to 1975-03-23
  • Hartford, Wadsworth Atheneum, 1975-04-23 to 1975-06-01

Surrealism Is Alive and Well in the West

  • Pasadena, California Institute of Technology, Baxter Art Gallery, 1972-02-24 to 1972-04-14

Bruce Conner: It's All True

  • Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), 2016-07-03 to 2016-10-02
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2016-10-29 to 2017-01-29

American Art of the 1950s and 1960s from the Collection of the Norton Simon Museum

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1988-08-11 to 1994-04-03

West Coast Art

  • Pasadena Art Museum, 1972-06-20 to 1972-09-03

Recent Acquisitions, 1969

  • Pasadena Art Museum, 1969-11-24 to 1970-01-18

Permanent and Loan Collection, 1974

  • Pasadena Museum of Modern Art, 1974-03-16 to 1974-06-06

Radical Past: Contemporary Art and Music in Pasadena, 1960-1974

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1999-02-07 to 1999-06-06
  • Armory Center for the Arts, 1999-02-07 to 1999-04-11
  • Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, Calif.), 1999-02-07 to 1999-04-25

Lost but Found: Assemblage, Collage and Sculpture, 1920-2002

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2004-11-05 to 2005-03-28
  • Pasadena Art Museum, Recent Acquisitions 1969, 1969, no. 23 p. 18
  • Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Poets of the Cities New York and San Francisco, 1950-1965, 1974, no. 62 p. 134
  • Dunham, Judith L., Art Week, 1975, p. 1
  • Domeraue, Denise, Artists Design Furniture, 1984, no. 37 p. 24
  • Philips, Lisa, Beat Culture and the New America, 1950-1965, 1995, p. 94
  • Plagens, Peter, Sunshine Muse: Art on the West Coast, 1999, p. 82
  • Armory Center for the Arts/Art Center College of Design, Radical Past: Contemporary Art & Music in Pasadena, 1960-1974, 1999, p. 41
  • Gary Garrels and Rudolf Frieling, It's All True: Bruce Conner, 2016, pl. 49 p. 81
Audio Tour
English | Español
Audio Tour Transcript
English | Español
English | Español
Transcripción de Audioguía
English | Español

Additional Artwork by Artist

Cancellation Bruce Conner 1965
Green Line Bruce Conner 1965

Image reproduction permission may be granted for scholarly or arts related commercial use. All image requests, regardless of their intended purpose, should be submitted via the reproduction request form.

Images may be protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. Additional permission may be required.

Approved requests for the reproduction of an image will receive a contract detailing all fees and conditions of use of the image. Upon receipt of both the signed contract and full payment, the Office of Rights and Reproductions will provide the image. A complimentary copy of the published material must be provided to the Norton Simon Museum.

Reproduction Request Form