Tony Conrad  Music/Sound

Tony Conrad is a Brooklyn- and Buffalo-based artist, musician / composer, film and video maker, and professor in the University at Buffalo Department of Media Study. He was involved in the early development of underground cinema and minimal music. He is widely known for his 1966 film The Flicker, which is one of the key early works of structuralist film, and for his minimalist violin playing, both in collaboration with John Cale and La Monte Young and on Outside the Dream Syndicate, his 1972 record with the German krautrock group Faust. He has composed more than a dozen works using special scales derived from the harmonic series, and he frequently performs on violin and other instruments. Beginning in late 1972 with the first of his Yellow Movies, Conrad produced several series of “paracinema” works – pieces that radically extended and questioned the boundaries of traditional cinema. These included films that used cooking as an analogical supplementation of film developing, and films that used alternative means such as electrocution, hammering, and weaving to replace camera exposure. In 1976 he joined the Department of Media Study in the University at Buffalo, where he still teaches video. In Buffalo he also served on the board of Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center for more than 20 years, and was a founding board member of Squeaky Wheel (aka Buffalo Media Resources). In the late 1980s and 1990s Conrad was an activist supporter of community media. He worked with several Buffalo media collectives, co-producing several hundred local public access cable television programs. Conrad’s other video works are frequently ironic and anecdotal. Several of them center on authority relationships that are implicit in media viewing. Conrad’s music performances, films, videos, and other works are widely heard and seen in the US and internationally. Since 2006 he has been exhibiting at the Greene Naftali Gallery in New York and the Galerie Daniel Buchholz in Cologne. In 2007 he performed at the Tate Modern in London and at the Louvre, and he was included in the Yokohama Triennale. In 2009 he was included in the Venice Biennale. In New York he has performed at Issue Project Room, P.S.1, the Whitney Museum, West Nile, Roulette, The Kitchen, etc. Conrad has released many CDs on the Table of the Elements label, including Early Minimalism (Volume 1), Moratorium, Joan of Arc, Thuunderboy, and others. His early work is the subject of Branden W. Joseph’s Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the arts after Cage (2008). Some of his own writings appear in Woody Vasulka and Peter Weibel’s Buffalo Heads: Media Study, Media Practice, Media Pioneers, 1973-1990 (2008).

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