NYU Steinhardt’s 80WSE Galleries is proud to present “Tony Conrad: Doing the City,” the first institutional solo survey of work by artist Tony Conrad in 22 years. Tony Conrad is an American video artist, experimental filmmaker, musician, composer, sound artist, teacher, and writer. Works from Conrad's archive, including two major films produced 40 years ago, will premiere live during the eight-week exhibition. Additionally, scheduled performances of Conrad's historic improvisatory music will mark the first time his pieces are being played for the public.
Opening Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 6:00 p.m. at 80WSE, located on the east side of Washington Square Park between West 4th St. and Washington Place, the exhibit will be loosely based around the theme of community and intervention, a theme chosen site-specifically, in relation to the NYU Steinhardt's art department's history as part of a school of education.
“Many of the works in this show of Conrad’s cross the line between art, community empowerment actions, play and film, video, and multi-media,” said Michael Cohen, exhibit curator. “Since NYU and NYU Steinhardt house a variety of departments that reflect these interests, I believe Tony thought these works most suitable to show in that context.”
The exhibition at 80WSE will include the works “Loose Connection” and “Waterworks.” The first is an experimental documentary film of family life on West 42nd St. where Conrad lived in the early 1970s with Beverly Grant, the “Queen of the Underground,” and their son, Ted. It uses a specially-designed rotating camera mount that radically interrupts the viewer’s spatial orientation to speak in the structuralist film language of the 70s. “Waterworks” records a summer solstice street celebration Conrad and Grant produced as a neighborhood event in the middle of Times Square in 1973. The film’s focus on natural spectacle and counter-culture pageantry provide a missing link to the art films of Jack Smith and Kenneth Anger.
“The films we are premiering broaden our understanding of how New York City underground film progressed in these decades and also highlight a consistency and development to Conrad’s multifaceted production,” Cohen added.
Films and videos will be screened throughout the exhibit. For more information on the Conrad screenings at 80WSE please contact Edward Holland at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on related Conrad screenings, please contact Andrew Lampert at Anthology Film Archives at email@example.com.
Conrad’s work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, and Documenta, to the Venice Biennale and Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, among many others, including the Greene Naftali Gallery in New York and Galerie Daniel Buchholz in Berlin and Cologne.
His most famous film “The Flicker” (1966) was included in the Whitney Museum of American Art's exhibition, “The American Century,” and is considered a key early work of the structural film movement. The film consists solely of completely black and completely white images, which, as the title suggests, produces a flicker when projected.
Conrad has been a faculty member at the State University of New York at Buffalo since 1976, in the department of media study. His art was prominently featured in the catalogue and exhibition "Buffalo Heads" at Germany's Center for Art and Media Technology (ZKM). This renowned exhibition and catalogue documented the work produced by Conrad and others who taught in this program during its 70s heyday. In music, Conrad was a co-founder of the Theatre of Eternal Music, nicknamed “The Dream Syndicate,” which included John Cale, Angus MacLise, La Monte Young, and Marion Zazeela, and utilized intonation and sustained sound to produce what the group called "dream music” and is now called drone music.
Conrad has composed more than a dozen audio works with special scales and tuning for solo amplified violin with amplified strings. Conrad has played and collaborated with Rhys Chatham, Charlemagne Palestine, Jennifer Walshe, Tony Oursler, Eli Keszler, and many others.
About 80WSE Galleries
The 80WSE Galleries, located on the east side of Washington Square Park between West 4th St. and Washington Place, is directed by artist and NYU Steinhardt faculty member Peter Campus. 80WSE is an extension of the Department of Art and Art Professions in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at NYU. The 80WSE Galleries display exhibitions curated by faculty, students, and alumni, as well as experimental projects by noted curators. To learn more about 80WSE, visit: http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/80wse.
About the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development prepares students for careers in the arts, education, health, media, and psychology. Since its founding in 1890, the Steinhardt School's mission has been to explore aspects of the human experience through public service, global collaboration, research, scholarship, and practice. To learn more about NYU Steinhardt, visit: http://steinhardt.nyu.edu.