80WSE to Debut Never-Before-Seen Works by Video Artist Tony Conrad in Latest Exhibit, “Tony Conrad: Doing the City,” Sept. 12 – Nov. 3, 2012

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, 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 edward.holland@nyu.edu.


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