Tony Conrad at Hallwalls
[PERFORMANCE] Barely two years ago, when Tony Conrad passed away in nearby Cheektowaga at the age of 76, he left behind a sizable legacy of fringe art in addition to a teaching career in Media Studies at UB that’d lasted some 40 years. As the man indirectly responsible for naming The Velvet Underground (Lou Reed and John Cale took the name from a book Conrad left behind in a Greenwich Village apartment he’d previously rented), Conrad’s place in the history of underground music was forever secured before his career had really taken off. But he was also an early pioneer of drone music (originally called “dream music”) and participant in the stored, 1960’s experimental group, Theatre of Eternal Music. Still, others know him for his avant-garde video work and use of film as both a medium and as a symbolic prop in performances where it was sometimes cooked or pickled (no, not kidding). Conrad’s relationship with Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center dates back to the venue’s roots and endured throughout the decades, resulting in a trove of recently digitized goodies from deep in their vaults — this is the first event featuring material solely culled from those cherished archives. Featured in “Tony Conrad at Hallwalls,” opening Friday, January 12, are looped performances presented in the gallery alongside a photo montage, a documented interview, and an audio loop of a days-long series of daily piano performances from 1979 entitled Tiding Over. This presentation also serves as a entry-point for larger exhibits premiering in March at the Albright Knox Art Gallery and University at Buffalo Art Galleries. Friday’s opening at Hallwalls will also feature a TALKPERFORMANCE from local media maven Anthony Billoni.