One thing seems pretty clear about both groups: they separated themselves from mainstream culture, including the art world. This is practically unheard of today.
It is clear to me now that seeing Jess’s art was the beginning of my awareness that there was a multitude of what John Ashbery called “other traditions.”
For New Yorkers, the artists Jean Conner, Wally Hedrick, Deborah Remington, Franklin Williams range from little-known and neglected to unknown altogether.
Shortly after coming to San Francisco, Conner formed what he christened the “Rat Bastard Society.” Conner told the curator Peter Boswell that the name was fitting for “people who were making things with the detritus of society, who themselves were ostracized or alienated from full involvement with society.”