Tony Conrad, still from “Waterworks,” 1973-2012

As part of the upcoming New York Art Book Fair, is the premiere of “Tony Conrad: Doing the City” an 80 page full-color monograph. The monograph also includes a live performance DVD and will be available at the Printed Matter, Inc. Booth.

On Saturday September 21st, at 3:00 PM artist Tony Conrad and exhibition curator and catalogue editor Michael Cohen will be in at the booth for a book signing. The release of the monograph coincides with the exhibition that took place at 80wse Gallery in Autumn of 2012 and was the artists first institutional exhibition in 22 years.

When asked about the exhibition and the exciting release and premiere of the Conrad monograph during the New York Art Book Fair, Michael Cohen stated,

People are very interested in Tony Conrad’s film, art and music right now because he’s a living monument from one of the most influential eras of the New York art world.  Tony was first active in the downtown [scene] in the early 1960’s at a point where his experiments had a deep impact on the direction of both avant-garde film and experimental, classical and rock music.  There aren’t many artists who’ve had that sort of influence, but aren’t over-exposed either.  For myself, and for people who saw the works and performances at the 80wse show, it was a special experience because you could viscerally connect through Tony to the energy of that era, but one was also struck by how contemporary these pieces seemed as well.   At both the film and music events [held during the exhibition], Tony’s love and commitment for his work and complete lack of careerist calculation really shone through quite strongly, and that’s something I believe younger people are looking to as a model today, which is one of the reasons his survey received so much attention.

The catalogue is both an extensive documentation of the two major works we premiered at Tony’s 80wse survey (Waterworks and Loose Connection) and two other major works which hadn’t been exhibited in twenty years (Bryant Park and Studio of the Streets).  The book contains many previously unpublished notes on his musical theory, flyers and documents from his early performances and films that have never been seen before, plus numerous color reproductions of the films, videos, performances and art.  But perhaps most importantly, a number of the essays and images in this book cover his historical oeuvre, making this the first monograph ever published on Tony Conrad’s over-all career.  I think since his body of work is so diverse and it’s often hard to see or access much or all of it, that overview will be very useful to art viewers — they can begin to understand how all the diverse aspects of Conrad’s work interrelate with each other.  The DVD includes HD recorded versions of Tony’s important early compositions “Chant” and “Early Minimalism,” plus a long video interview with Tony walking around his old haunts in the Lower East Side and discussing his life and career.  I believe this is the first live DVD of Conrad’s work that’s been released as well.

Tony Conrad at Essex and Grand Street.  Still from “Lower East Side: 12.12.12: Tony Conrad Interviewed by Michael Cohen”

The New York Art Book Fair, presented by Printed Matter Inc., is in it’s eighth year and will once again be presented at MoMA PS1, in the courtyard and also in the expanse of the museum. Hundreds of exhibitors will be present including both international and US based publishers, book sellers, zines, antiquarians and more. The event opens on the 19th of September and will be on view until the 22nd, 2013.

Tony Conrad, Wall text for “Loose Connection”.

More soon!