Keimena: Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present
by Tyler Hubby

Monday September 25, 2017, 24:00 on ERT2
Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present, 2016, USA, 97 min.
Director: Tyler Hubby

Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present by Tyler Hubby is a vibrant documentary about a pioneering artist who defies easy description. Revered as an experimental musician and filmmaker, Tony Conrad was an underground icon from the early 1960s up until his death in 2016. Ever the individualist, the distinctive works that Conrad produced across numerous mediums over six decades could not be more diverse in nature and character. Perpetually unpredictable, Conrad was one of the prime aesthetic agitators of his generation.

Tony Conrad first gained recognition in the early 1960s for the avant-garde music he made alongside La Monte Young, John Cale, and others in The Theater of Eternal Music, later known as The Dream Syndicate. Their landmark performances provided the foundation for the minimalist music and noise music movements that followed. In a different artistic arena, Conrad’s stroboscopic, seizure-inducing cinematic debut The Flicker (1966) is considered a key work of the “structural film” movement. In the 1970s and 80s he expanded further outward with a wide body of humorous performance art pieces and idiosyncratic videos that were often as smart as they were silly. An esteemed professor and media activist, Conrad gained renewed fame in the 1990s and 2000s as a venerated musical maverick and high-profile gallery artist.

Shot over 22 years, and featuring generous excerpts from Conrad’s work, Tyler Hubby’s superbly crafted film miraculously manages to capture the full essence of Conrad’s sly mad professor personality and outsized intellect. It is an endearing portrait of a dearly departed, serially singular non-conformist.

—Andrew Lampert

Posted in Public TV on 09.25.2017