Sunday 10 November 2019, 2pm
Please note that this is a matinee event – doors will open at 2pm and the screening will begin shortly after.
Burning Bridges presents acclaimed editor, Tyler Hubby’s feature documentary directorial debut about the late iconoclastic American multi-media artist Tony Conrad, who has influenced artists and activists ranging from the Velvet Underground to the Yes Men and who we were lucky enough to host a number of times at Cafe OTO. Twenty-two years in the making, the film follows Tony Conrad’s strange and uncompromising fifty-year artistic path through experimental film, music, video, public television and education and his unlikely resurgence as a noteworthy composer and performer. Conrad’s numerous works, interwoven with intimate footage reveal a remarkable, inspiring and creative life.
Opening the show, acclaimed composer, vocalist and performer, Jennifer Walshe will perform a very special set of works by Tony Conrad, including previously unplayed work which she created with Tony.
“Tony Conrad has slowly been emerging from avant-gardist obscurity over the past few years, and about time. His multifold career – as experimental film and video-maker, composer, musician and sound artist – still looks radical and prescient a half-century after it began.” – The New York Times
“Conrad’s desire to upset the distinctions between artist, audience and media is one theme running through Hubby’s warm portrait of the artist as a lifelong contrarian…capturing a working life spent running counter to master plans and grand narratives, yet still devoted to perpetual motion.” – Sight&Sound
Anthony Schmalz “Tony” Conrad (March 7, 1940 – April 9, 2016) was an American avant-garde video artist, experimental filmmaker, musician, composer, sound artist, teacher, and writer. Conrad indelibly altered the course of contemporary art and thought. Born in New Hampshire, he earned a mathematics degree from Harvard and soon became a central figure in the 1960’s New York scene. From a young age he stretched the limits of music and performance, drafting post-Cagean music compositions and text pieces—and collaborating with artists such as Henry Flynt, Jack Smith, and, with the legendary drone ensemble Theatre of Eternal Music, La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela, and John Cale. By the mid-’60s, Conrad had begun to focus his attention on film; in 1966, he created The Flicker, a stroboscopic masterpiece which stands as one of the first examples of structural film.
From then on, Conrad’s socially-engaged multimedia works—such as Straight and Narrow and Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain —continued to investigate and push the boundaries of art, performance, authorship, viewership, discipline, and power. In the 1970’s, after releasing his first studio album, Outside the Dream Syndicate (with Faust), he turned his attention to new media—working alongside artists such as Paul Sharits and Hollis Frampton while a professor State University of New York at Buffalo. In the ‘80s, he made films with, and proved a major influence on a younger generation of artists, namely Mike Kelley and Tony Oursler. Ever-restless, Conrad injected each strain of his polymathic practice with unique conceptual and political force as well as a sense of humor. Fueling a resurgence of interest in his music in the mid-1990s, Conrad focused once again on music, releasing Slapping Pythagoras, Four Violins , and Early Minimalism Volume One. Accompanied by incisive texts by Conrad, these albums helped to cement his place as a crucial and singular figure in the history of minimal music. He performed and screened his films at forward-thinking festivals and institutions throughout the world, such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Tate Modern, and Anthology Film Archives. His films and artworks are in the collections of the Whitney Museum, the Albright-Knox Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), and the ZKM Center for Art and Media, among others.
Before his passing in 2016, Tony performed with Faust at Berlin Atonal Festival; he also created solo exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Wien and 80WSE, New York University, as well as at Greene Naftali Gallery, New York, and Galerie Buchholz, Cologne. The life of this radical and thoughtful visionary has been documented in TONY CONRAD: COMPLETELY IN THE PRESENT which World Premiered at the Chicago Underground Film Festival July 1, 2016 where he was also honored posthumously with a Lifetime Achievement Award. The documentary has been screening at such festivals as Viennale, Leeds International Film Festival, DOC NYC, International Film Festival Rotterdam and esteemed museums including the TATE Modern in London, the National Gallery of Art in D.C., Los Angeles’s Broad Museum and San Francisco’s Cinematheque.
“The most original compositional voice to emerge from Ireland in the past 20 years” (The Irish Times) and “Wild girl of Darmstadt” (Frankfurter Rundschau), composer and performer Jennifer Walshe was born in Dublin, Ireland. Her music has been commissioned, broadcast and performed all over the world. She has been the recipient of fellowships and prizes from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York, the DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm, the Internationales Musikinstitut, Darmstadt and Akademie Schloss Solitude among others. Recent projects include TIME TIME TIME, an opera written in collaboration with the philosopher Timothy Morton, and THE SITE OF AN INVESTIGATION, a 30-minute epic for Walshe’s voice and orchestra, commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland. THE SITE has been performed by Walshe and the NSO, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and also the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra. A Late Anthology of Early Music Vol. 1: Ancient to Renaissance, her third solo album, was released on Tetbind in 2020. The album uses AI to rework canonical works from early Western music history. A Late Anthology was chosen as an album of the year in The Irish Times, The Wire and The Quietus. Walshe is currently a professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Stuttgart. Her work was recently profiled by Alex Ross in The New Yorker.