Dream Colonies, Painterlands, and the Intersection of Curating with Creation: Bruce Conner meets Walter Hopps
Thursday, June 29, 2017, 7:00 p.m., City Lights Bookseller, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco

Anastasia Aukeman in discussion with Deborah Treisman, moderated by Paul Yamazaki

Anastasia Aukman, author of Welcome to Painterland: Bruce Conner and the Rat Bastard Protective Association meets Deborah Treisman, co-author with Walter Hopps and Anne Doran of The Dream Colony: A Life in Art. They will explore two enigmatic and influential figures in the world of art and how their work intersected via art creation and curation. City Lights very own Paul Yamazaki will moderate an evening of discussion that traverses the San Francisco, Los Angeles, and national art scenes. Mid-century San Francisco artist Bruce Conner and legendary arts curator Walter Hopps walked in familiar worlds. The Rat Bastard Protective Association intersected with Wallace Berman's Semina Scene of which Hopps was a supporter (and integral part of) via the Ferus Gallery. Through following the threads that connected artists with each other and the gallery scenes that supported them, we hope to show the rich history that California mid-century artists and curators shared.

Deborah Treisman will discuss her newly released book

The Dream Colony: A Life in Art
by Walter Hopps, Deborah Treisman, and Anne Doran
published by Bloomsbury Books

A panoramic look at art in America in the second half of the twentieth century, through the eyes of the visionary curator who helped shape it. An innovative, iconoclastic curator of contemporary art, Walter Hopps founded his first gallery in L.A. at the age of twenty-one. At twenty-four, he opened the Ferus Gallery with then-unknown artist Edward Kienholz, where he turned the spotlight on a new generation of West Coast artists. Ferus was also the first gallery ever to show Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans and was shut down by the L.A. vice squad for a show of Wallace Berman's edgy art. At the Pasadena Art Museum in the sixties, Hopps mounted the first museum retrospectives of Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Cornell and the first museum exhibition of Pop Art--before it was even known as Pop Art. In 1967, when Hopps became the director of Washington's Corcoran Gallery of Art at age thirty-four, the New York Times hailed him as "the most gifted museum man on the West Coast (and, in the field of contemporary art, possibly in the nation)." He was also arguably the most unpredictable, an eccentric genius who was chronically late. (His staff at the Corcoran had a button made that said WALTER HOPPS WILL BE HERE IN TWENTY MINUTES.) Erratic in his work habits, he was never erratic in his commitment to art. Hopps died in 2005, after decades at the Menil Collection of art in Houston for which he was the founding director. A few years before that, he began work on this book. With an introduction by legendary Pop artist Ed Ruscha, The Dream Colony is a vivid, personal, surprising, irreverent, and enlightening account of his life and of some of the greatest artistic minds of the twentieth century.

Anastasia Aukman will discuss her recently released book

Welcome To Painterland: Bruce Conner and The Rat Bastard Protective Association
by Anastasia Aukman
published by University of California Press

The Rat Bastard Protective Association was an inflammatory, close-knit community of artists who lived and worked in a building they dubbed Painterland in the Fillmore neighborhood of midcentury San Francisco. The artists who counted themselves among the Rat Bastards—which included Joan Brown, Bruce Conner, Jay DeFeo, Wally Hedrick, Michael McClure, and Manuel Neri—exhibited a unique fusion of radicalism, provocation, and community. Geographically isolated from a viable art market and  refusing to conform to institutional expectations, they animated broader social and artistic discussions through their work and became a transformative part of American culture over time. Anastasia Aukeman presents new and little-known archival material in this authorized account of these artists and their circle, a colorful cultural milieu that intersected with the broader Beat scene.

Anastasia Aukeman
is an art historian and curator who teaches at Parsons School of Design in New York City. She has contributed essays to numerous exhibition catalogues and written articles and reviews for Art in America, Art on Paper, and ARTnews, among other publications. 

Deborah Treisman is the fiction editor of The New Yorker. This year, she won the Maxwell E. Perkins Award for distinguished achievement in the field of fiction. She has edited 20 Under 40: Stories From The New Yorker. 

Paul Yamazaki has been the principal buyer and board member at City Lights Booksellers for over 30 years. He has served on the boards of the Council of Literary Magazines & Presses, Small Press Distribution, Kearny Street Workshop, and has worked with the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council and many others. He recently spoke at the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas discussing the history of City Lights in relation to the BEAT Generation for the exhibit Holy Barbarians: Beat Culture on the West Coast.