Artist and filmmaker Bruce Conner’s (1933–2008) mobility was severely limited for the last five years of his life, when he rarely left the San Francisco home he shared with his wife, Jean. To aid in his physical navigation of its spaces, he worked with assistants to install a succession of solid brass handles in each and every room--surrounding the stove, down the boat-like stairwell, inside the recesses of the bedroom closet. At last count, the handles, a labyrinth of critical support, numbered 163.
Still in situ after his death in 2008, the handles are arguably Conner’s last great work--at once physical and metaphysical, fragmentary and elusive, elegant and anonymous. Together, they draft the ghost architecture of Conner’s final years, transforming the pedestrian into something altogether different.