Fiction. Art. Memoir. Poetry. Drama. This small book contains various pieces—memoir, short stories, poems, a one-act play, some artwork—all done as humorous commentary on life. A former TV host for studies of museum art, Connor is best known for his paintings. His earlier book, Masters in Pieces (Journey Editions, 1997), illustrated not only his skill but also his humor in putting great works of art together. Of it, Eric P. Nash wrote in The New York Times: “…Magically, Connor whisks away the artifice of art history to forge some deeper connections, and makes us smile all the while.”
Russell Connor was born in Cambridge, MA, June 15, 1929. He had a BFA from Mass. College of Art and an MFA from the Yale School of Art, where he studied with Josef Albers. He was an internationally known painter and writer who contributed covers and illustrated essays to The New Yorker and The New York Times Book Review. After study with Josef Albers at Yale, and years painting in Japan and France, he was invited by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to be writer and host of Museum Open House, a nationally televised weekly gallery talk, produced with WGBH for public television for four years. While active as a painter, he also produced award-winning films on art, and was an early champion of video art. In 1970 he curated the world’s first museum exhibition of video art at the Rose Art Museum of Brandeis University, and later collaborated with Nam June Paik, Bill Viola, and William Wegman. He traced the origin of art history-inspired painting he did, for over three decades, to a youthful stint as what he called an instant expert on the art of the world, writing and hosting Museum Open House, a WGBH-TV series from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. http://russellconnor.com/
An in depth, charming interview-article and additional in studio 8 min-youtube video interview: https://wgbhalumni.org/profiles/c/connor-russell/
In addition to exhibiting internationally in museums and galleries, he has done covers and illustrated essays for The New Yorker and The New York Times’ Book Review. He also engaged in the production of films and videotapes about the arts, for broadcast and cable television, for which he won several awards. In addition to being the writer/host for two WGBH series, Museum Open House from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Artists’ Showcase, he hosted a series for Cable Arts, A for Art; a series for HBO, The Artist’s Eye; and a series on experimental video for WNET in New York, entitled VTR: Video and Television Review. He has produced and directed PBS programs for the Whitney Museum of American Art (as Head of their Education Dept.), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, The Asia Society, and The New York Historical Society, and documentaries on New York artists, funded by the New York State Council on the Arts. He collaborated on video art projects with Nam June Paik, Bill Viola, and William Wegman. Mr.Connor lectured at the School of Visual Arts, New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the DeCordova Museum School, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Worcester Art Museum School, the University of Rhode Island, the Tama School of Fine Arts, Japan, Hunter College of The City University of New York, The New School University, New York, Brandeis University, The Art Students’ League, The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the École des Beaux Arts, Paris. His paintings are in numerous private and museum collections. For a list of Exhibitions and museum collections, file:///Users/useryou/Desktop/CV,+Russell+Connor.pdf
Jayne Merkel –
This book arrived in the middle of the afternoon when I was supposed to be doing research for my own book, but I decided to skim a few lines. Over an hour later, I put it down, having read all the way through without as much as a break for a glass of water, my stomach sore from giggling, my eyes damp from laughing so hard I cried. I knew Russell Connor was funny. His erudite and very skillful paintings are witty and wise in the most unusual ways (a few are included here). But I wasn’t prepared for the hilarity of his writing–or the range of his wit. The press conference held by Attila the Hun’s Press Secretary is one for the annals. The little domestic comedy about an old married couple (“As I Was Saying: A Play in One Act”) makes scenes from “Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf” seem positively pedantic. “Songs without Music” squelch contemporary linguistic cliches. And Winslow Homer’s illustrations for Moby Dick (by Connor, of course), complete with imagined correspondence between the artist and the writer, are simply hilarious. Do not buy this book if you don’t want to laugh your head off, and whatever you do, don’t give it to a friend who has just had abdominal surgery.