On Friday, April 7th, ISSUE gathers a group of artists who all shared a friendship with Tony Conrad, and a deep devotion to his music and art. In honor of Tony, who passed away on April 9th, 2016, Spectral Density is an evening of music and expression that sees original works by Henry Flynt, Dan Conrad, and Arnold Dreyblatt, as well as a performance of Tony’s Three Loops for Performers and Tape Recorders (1961) by Lary 7. The evening is curated by Tony’s close friend and 2010 ISSUE Artist-In-Residence MV Carbon.
Longtime ISSUE Project Room friend, collaborator and Board Member Tony Conrad (1940 – 2016) was a true polymath: composer, filmmaker, video artist, media activist, philosopher, writer, and educator. Amongst his countless contributions to experimental culture, Tony was associated with the founding of minimal music and underground film -- well known for drafting post-Cagean music compositions and text pieces, video works such his his 1966 film masterwork The Flicker, and collaborations with artists such as Henry Flynt, Jack Smith, Faust, and—as part of legendary drone ensemble Theatre of Eternal Music—La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela, and John Cale. He performed and exhibited extensively, influenced countless artists, and was loved widely -- a profound and inspiring creative legacy. Tony was also a founding member of the ISSUE Project Room Board and a fundamental part of the ISSUE family.
This event is part of a series planned by Greene Naftali with friends, family, curators, and collaborators of Tony, including concerts and screenings at venues such as The Kitchen, Anthology Film Archives, Knockdown Center and ISSUE Project Room. The series centers around a memorial the afternoon of Saturday, April 8th, at the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center. The memorial will feature speeches, videos, and musical performances from artists and writers that were close to Tony. For more information, please see: http://tonyconrad.memorial/
Henry Flynt is a philosopher, musician, and exhibited artist. He was born in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1940. At the age of 17, he was accepted into Harvard where he studied mathematics and became close friends with Tony Conrad. Henry became interested in composing “serious modern music” at that time and concluded that academics had little to offer him intellectually. He dropped out of school to devote his time to creative endeavors. He has created a genre he calls New American Ethnic Music which combines sounds from the South with an avant-garde influence. Henry was an active part of the post-Cage milieu in the 1960s and realized the term “concept art.” He is known for his political and artistic expressions in the 60s. He picketed two museums and Lincoln Center with Tony Conrad and Jack Smith. Flynt sat in for violist John Cale for a handful of Velvet Underground concerts in 1966. He studied with Hindustani singer Pandit Pran Nath, the mentor of La Monte Young and Terry Riley. Flynt graduated from NYU in 1970, then entered the New School as a graduate student in economics. Flynt’s work is interwoven with the study of mathematics, philosophy, spirituality, politics and economics. Flynt has releases dating back to 1963, Acoustic Hillbilly Jive. Archival recordings were released in the early 2000s on labels Ampersand, Locust, and Recorded. Flynt has infrequently performed in public.
Dan Conrad pursues the challenge of developing technology-assisted art, while continuing to work with traditional media in visual and sound art. Experimentation opens fresh avenues of expression, and the cross-stimulation of diverse artistic interests furthers the development long-held core concepts. Dan Conrad’s flute music has been a creative reference point for him since the age of six. Twenty years ago he joined the experimental music scene in Baltimore, Maryland. Looking for further possibilities in sound, Conrad set aside the flute to invent other instruments. One product of these projects was a combination of electronic devices, which, when used with the flute, have redefined Conrad's relationship with his original instrument and opened fresh areas of experimentation and collaboration. Conrad received an MFA in painting from the Hoffberger School (MICA ). He taught physics and related subjects in high school for 23 years in Baltimore, where he lives and makes music and color-changing luminous art using LEDs and electronic circuitry.
Born in Buffalo, New York, Lary 7 is a multimedia artist who coaxes profane, inscrutable sounds and images from various mysterious devices. Eschewing the digital, his work mainly features vintage and forgotten electronic instruments and technologies. In the past he has taken the unique approach of modifying household appliances in order to give them a musical voice. Lary is a co-founder of Plastickville Records and has been a major figure in the New York experimental underground music scene since 1970. He has worked on exceptional musical projects with diverse artists including Jimi Tenor, Jarboe, Foetus, Tony Conrad, Alexander Hacke, Larry Mullins, Dorit Chrysler, Bernhard Gal, Jacob Kirkegaard, Gen Ken Montgomery, and Gordon Monahan.
Arnold Dreyblatt (b. New York City, 1953) is a composer, performer and visual artist. He studied music with Pauline Oliveros, La Monte Young, and Alvin Lucier and has been based in Berlin, Germany since 1984. Among the second generation of New York minimal composers, Dreyblatt developed a unique approach to composition and music performance. As he began his music in the late 1970's in New York, he invented a set of new and original instruments, performance techniques, and a system of tuning and has formed and led numerous ensembles under the title "The Orchestra of Excited Strings". In 2007, he was elected to the German Academy of Art (Akademie der Künste, Berlin). He is currently Professor for Media Art at the Muthesius Academy of Art and Design in Kiel. Dreyblatt has been composing music for his own and other ensembles for almost forty years. Often characterized as the most rock-oriented of American minimalists, Dreyblatt has cultivated a strong underground fan base for his transcendental and ecstatic music with his "Orchestra of Excited Strings". The New York native studied film and video at SUNY with Woody and Steina Vasulka, and earned his masters from the Institute for Media Studies at S.U.N.Y. Buffalo. In the mid-'70s, he studied composition with Pauline Oliveros and LaMonte Young, then with Alvin Lucier while completing his masters in composition, completed in 1982. By that time, Dreyblatt had already been directing his own music ensemble, the Orchestra of Excited Strings. In 1984, he moved to Europe where, in addition to composing, he began to work in performance and the visual arts. He has received numerous grants, stipends and commissions including the Philip Morris Art Prize, Foundation for Contemporary Performance Art and from the Irish Arts Council. Musicians and Ensembles which have performed his music include the Bang On A Can All-Stars, the Pellegrini Quartet, Jim O'Rourke, Crash Ensemble (Dublin), The Great Learning Orchestra (Stockholm), and the American Indie-band Megafaun. In 1991, he created the contemporary opera Who's Who in Central and East Europe 1933 which toured European theatres until 1997. Dreyblatt has recorded for such labels as Tzadik, Hat Hut, Table of the Elements, Cantaloupe, Important, Northern Spy, Choose and Black Truffel. Dreyblatt has taught music workshops resulting in performed compositions with musicians at The Music Gallery, Toronto; MIT Boston, Serralves Foundation, SXSW Festival Porto, Portugal and many others. He has performed with and without his ensemble at the Whitney Museum, New York; the Maerz Music Festival, Berlin; the Angelika Festival, Bologna; The Lab in San Francisco, Jazz House, Copenhagen and countless other festivals and concert venues in Europe and in North America.