American, 1933 -2008
wood; paint; wax; metal; hair
64.8 x 42.6 x 20.3 cm (25 1/2 x 16 3/4 x 8 inches)
Museum purchase with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts 71.063
OVEN is one of a small number of sculptures Bruce Conner made from dyed industrial wax between 1959 and 1961. It is a rare example of Conner modeling forms as well as cobbling them together from found materials, as was his standard practice in film and sculptural assemblages for which he was well-known among 1950s Beat artists and later avant-garde circles. Here the crude, encrusted surface bristles with detritus that appears charred, giving the piece a menacing take on a common domestic appliance. In salvaging material considered expendable in American culture, Conner’s work was an early and aggressive challenge to the throw-away ethos of consumerism.