Film: Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present

Co-presented by Fusebox Festival

Roof opens 7:30P, Film at 8:30P. Tickets at the door.

BYO picnics welcome!

Jack-of-all-trades Tony Conrad had a bigger influence on postwar art than many people might think. From the godfather of the Velvet Underground and progenitor of minimal music to drone-filming hero, and from radical filmmaker to activist video maker and conceptual performer: this is a portrait of an all-round, extremely lovable, and legendary avant-gardist.

Filmed over the past two decades, this kaleidoscopic portrait wonderfully captures the lively, freewheeling spirit of avant-garde legend Tony Conrad, who passed away last year. The subtitle of the film already suggests what his attitude toward art was all about: no false assumptions about the past, no pretensions about the future, just being “completely in the present.” Conrad questioned authority in every period and in every aspect of his life.

As director Tyler Hubby (The Devil and Daniel Johnston) illustrates, most notably with Conrad’s ongoing protests against the Lincoln Center, the institutionalization of art was one of the artist’s ongoing battles. Uprooting and dismantling our Western notion of musical composition was another one. Shifting from music to film, to performance, teaching, video, visual art, and public television, Conrad challenged his audience to redefine film, music, and time.

This energetic documentary will be introduced by Senior Curator Heather Pesanti, who worked with Tony Conrad on multiple occasions during her time as Curator of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. (Directed by Tyler Hubby, 2017, 102 mins.)

Also on view in the Jones Center Galleries

Tony Conrad's Studio of the Streets public access television project, 1990–1993, is on view this April.