Essential writings from the downtown New York legend and polymath, pioneer of both structural film and drone music
Tony Conrad (1940–2016) was a legendary multidisciplinary artist known for his groundbreaking contributions in experimental film, music, and video. Upon moving to New York City in 1962, he began making music with John Cale, La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela in the Theatre of Eternal Music, a group that helped shape what would come to be known as minimalist music. He later went on to perform with Lou Reed in a pre-Velvet Underground band called The Primitives and cut a classic 1972 record with the German Krautrock band Faust that set a new standard for drone music.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Conrad was perhaps best known for his contribution to film, where he helped to redefine structural filmmaking with The Flicker and Yellow Movies. Conrad went on to create an extensive body of work in a variety of media such as installation, photography, and performance until his death in 2016.
Throughout his life, Conrad also wrote prolifically on topics including his own work (and that of his peers), music, art, media theory and activism. Writings is the first book devoted solely to Conrad’s writing, collecting 57 hard-to-find or previously unpublished texts from 1961 to 2012. These writings provide a critical lens into the artist’s multitudinous identities and wide-ranging creative pursuits and, as with his diverse artistic output, consistently challenge and dismantle authoritarian notions of culture.