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Cover for Welcome to Painterland

Welcome to Painterland

Bruce Conner and the Rat Bastard Protective Association

Anastasia Aukeman


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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.

Praise For Welcome to Painterland: Bruce Conner and the Rat Bastard Protective Association

“Richly detailed…. Aukeman has written eloquently and thoroughly about the milieu in which this iconoclastic group of artists, poets, musicians, and publishers thrived from 1957  — when Conner and wife, Jean Sandstedt, arrived in San Francisco from Lincoln, Nebraska  — to the day “The Rose” was removed from DeFeo’s apartment.” 
— Hyperallergic

University of California Press, 9780520289451, 352pp.

Publication Date: August 9, 2016

About the Author

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.