Tony Conrad: Completely In Present

Wednesday, June 1 | 8:00pm

Tyler Hubby | 98 min., video, 2016, USA


The Chicago Underground Film Festival is proud to present the World Premiere of Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present, a two-decades-in-the-making documentary about the legendary artist’s extraordinary life and influential work. One of the great American artists of our era, Conrad’s work has remained largely unknown to the world at large. Conrad’s career has directly touched and influenced most major contemporary movements in art, film, and music since the early 1960s, pushing the boundaries of what moving images and sound can be and providing inspiration for artists and musicians everywhere. Conrad performed in Jack Smith’s legendary underground film Flaming Creatures, for which he also provided the soundtrack. His own work with film commenced audaciously in 1966 with The Flicker, a film composed entirely of black and white frames, which turned the firm world on its head and helped launch the movement of “ structural filmmaking” that dominated experimental film for the next decade. Working with composers such as Stockhausen and La Monte Young he was a central figure in the development of Just Intonation and Minimalism which led to his subsequent role in the formation of the Velvet Underground, directly or indirectly influencing all guitar-based rock music that followed. Conrad was an early proponent of public access television as a democratic activist tool. He continued to perform and make groundbreaking works right up until his death in April of this year and had finally begun to achieve the recognition he deserved.

Reflecting Conrad’s own unconventional and forward-thinking means of creating art, Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present mixes intimate footage of the artist and his collaborators and accomplices shot by Hubby over the past two decades, along with selections from Conrad’s personal archive of recordings and films, and of course the always surprising and playful Tony Conrad guides viewers through free associative narratives of his astounding and creative life.

“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

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