Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present Screen 5 articles

Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present


Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present Poster
  • Hubby’s documentary may not be formally as startling as its subject’s work, but it is informative and appears to be fairly comprehensive, although one regrets the non-mention of a 2003 work called Putin’s Gas Station, which you’d imagine may be gaining some fresh currency right now. Conrad is someone who, above all, seems to have had a lot of fun, and is visibly still having it in front of Hubby’s camera.

  • Sawing at his violin, Mr. Conrad evokes a character that could be played by a young Buck Henry in a Christopher Guest film. But, ultimately, he’s not sendup worthy: he’s the real deal. “I want to make abstract art that’s funny, happy, energetic, joyful,” he exclaims at one point. That he did. This movie is a good introduction to it.

  • Otherworldly musical genius also formed the basis of two intriguing documentaries. Film was just one of many mediums for Tony Conrad, whose limitless capacity for invention is ably captured in Tyler Hubby’s Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present.

  • Joyous, exhilarating, and transformative, it's essential viewing for anyone involved in the history of music and visual art—and their interpenetration throughout the second half of the twentieth century right up to today’s web-based “goings on,” to borrow the phrase Conrad uses early in the film to describe how his $25.04 a month, Ludlow Street apartment saw the beginnings of the most subversive art of the first half of the 1960s.

  • Tyler Hubby's documentary begins with a quote from Tony Conrad himself: "History is like music, completely in the present." It's a great quote, precisely for what it illuminates about both history and music, but perhaps more importantly, it absolutely clarifies Hubby's attitude toward documenting Conrad.

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