Jack-of-all-trades Tony Conrad had a bigger influence on post-war art than many people might think. From the godfather of The Velvet Underground and progenitor of minimal music to drone-filming hero, and from radical filmmaker to activist video-maker and conceptual performer: a portrait of an all-round, extremely loveable, and legendary avant-gardist.

Filmed over the past two decades, this kaleidoscopic portrait wonderfully captures the lively, freewheeling spirit of avant-garde legend Tony Conrad, who passed away last year. The subtitle of the film already suggests what his attitude towards art was all about: no false assumptions about the past, no pretensions about the future, just being ‘completely in the present.’ Conrad questioned authority in every period and in every aspect of his life.

As director Tyler Hubby (The Devil and Daniel Johnston) illustrates, most notably with Conrad’s ongoing protests against the Lincoln Center, the institutionalization of art was one of his ongoing battles. Uprooting and dismantling our western notion of musical composition was another one. Shifting from music to film, to performance, to teaching, to video, to visual art, to public television, the uncompromising artist challenged his audience to redefine film, music and time. This energetic documentary will be introduced by Senior Curator Heather Pesanti, who worked with Tony Conrad on multiple occasions during her time in Buffalo, and will pay tribute to the artist’s talent for being ‘completely in the present.’

TONY CONRAD: COMPLETELY IN THE PRESENT – Trailer #1 from Tyler Hubby on Vimeo.

A limited number of free tickets are available for reservations through Tickets will be available through The Contemporary Austin at the door for $10 each. They are free for museum members.

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