BRUCE CONNER: LOOKING FOR MUSHROOMS

MoMA June 28–July 12, 2016

This is the first in an ongoing series that makes film and video works from MoMA’s collection available online.

Departing from the stock footage that characterizes Bruce Conner’s earlier films, LOOKING FOR MUSHROOMS (1959–67/1996) is his first color film and consists of footage he shot while living in Mexico in 1961–62, as well as some earlier shots of him and his wife, Jean, in San Francisco. Building on the rapid rhythms of A MOVIE (1958) and BREAKAWAY (1966), and introducing multiple-exposure sequences, it is a psychedelic, meditative travelogue of rural Mexico, featuring sumptuously colorful images of the natural world, villages, and religious iconography. Most of the footage was shot while the Conners roamed the hillsides seeking psilocybin, or magic mushrooms, sometimes joined by psychologist Timothy Leary, who appears briefly in the film. Conner showed early versions of this film as a loop. In 1967 he added a soundtrack: the song “Tomorrow Never Knows” by The Beatles. In 1996 he created a longer version of the film that repeats each frame five times, which he set to music by experimental composer Terry Riley.

LOOKING FOR MUSHROOMS. 1959–67/1996. 16 mm film (color, sound), 14:30 min. Music: “Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band” (1968), composed and performed by Terry Riley. Collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (Accessions Committee Fund purchase), with the generous support of the New Art Trust. Courtesy Conner Family Trust

Licensing

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA's collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA's Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA's archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

Feedback

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.