Media Arts Program
 

Tuesday, February 27 at 7:00 p.m.

$8 general, $6 students/seniors, $5 members

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Tony Tuesday 2 - In Performance: Tony Conrad & Friends


Laurie Anderson (left), Biff Henrich, and Tony Conrad (center) at the conclusion of Like a Stream.




Joe Gibbons (left) and Tony Conrad

Rare video treasures from the Hallwalls archives documenting Tony Conrad collaborating with or appearing in performances by his friends and notable Hallwalls visiting artists at 30 Essex St. (1978), Hallwalls Gallery at 700 Main St., 4th floor (1981), & The Vault at Hallwalls, 700 Main St., 2nd floor (1986).

1. Like a Stream (music, text, & drawings by Laurie Anderson, 25 minutes), excerpt from Suspended Sentences, a benefit performance for Hallwalls, November 12, 1978.

On a crisp Sunday afternoon in fall of 1978 at 30 Essex Street, Laurie Anderson and Constance DeJong performed separately on a double bill as a benefit for Hallwalls, which in its organizational lifetime was only about a month short of four years old. Laurie's multimedia half of the program had the overall title of Suspended Sentences, and concluded with a performance by herself and "local" musicians of an ensemble composition, Like a Stream, for which she composed both music and text. Besides Laurie herself on "tape bow violin," the players (all but one of whom also spoke her texts of various lengths) were Tony Conrad and Steina Vasulka (violins), Biff Henrich and David Kulik (guitars), Gary Nickard (electric bass), and Jon Burris (recorder). We will show a brief clip of Laurie's opening remarks (with Paul Sharits prominent in the front row of the audience), then skip ahead to Like a Stream, which concluded Laurie's part of the afternoon and which we will play in its entirety. The music is mesmerizing, the text both entertaining and poetic, Tony's violin sublime.

On this Tony Tuesday, visual artists and musicians Biff Henrich and Gary Nickardoriginal and current members of The Vores who both performed with Laurie and Tony in Like a Stream—will be present to talk about the experience of playing with and being conducted by the young Laurie Anderson.

To the best of our knowledge this is the earliest, still extant video documentation of any Laurie Anderson performance anywhere.

2. Next we will play (for your eyes only) our unique archival documentation of a very historically significant program of three short performances (41.5 minutes total) by an equally stellar visiting artist we aren't at liberty to name here, featuring Tony Conrad in a supporting role, including off-stage declaiming, stick handling (not hockey), naysaying, and playing (not so sublimely) Verdi's "Anvil Chorus" from Il Trovatore on amplified violin. The performance took place in the 4th-floor gallery of 700 Main Street in 1981. This treasure is a secret you'll only see divulged if you attend this Tony Tuesday, but we can tell you you'll be among a very small number of lucky individuals in the entire art world who ever have.

INTERMISSION

3. Laughter & Defecation, a multimedia performance by Tony Conrad & Joe Gibbons, Hallwalls 2nd-floor Vault, May 13, 1986, 68 minutes.

Finally, we will show Tony's duo performance with his friend, frequent collaborator, Hallwalls visiting artist, and filmmaker Joe Gibbons, part of an evening of performances entitled Circumcising the Subject, programmed by then performance art curator Steve Gallagher. You may have caught glimpses of this one on one of the flat screen TVs in the gallery during the run of Tony Conrad @ Hallwalls, but this Tony Tuesday is your opportunity watch it in its entirety in the comfort of the Cinema. What does multimedia mean? In this case experimental film, found footage film, video, homemade electronics, prop comedy, Tony live drawing, Tony squeezing a squeezebox, and lots of reading and repartee both provocative and hilarious.

(Gary Nickard also appeared with Tony Conrad, Steve Gallagher, Keith Sanborn, Karen Finley, Tony Oursler, and Lewis Klahr in Gibbons's 1993 film, co-directed with Emily Breer, The Genius.)

This program was selected and will be introduced by Hallwalls executive director Ed Cardoni, who is indebted to Carolyn Tennant for her decade+ of devoted archival work which has made so many treasures like these available for viewing by artists, scholars, curators, critics, and, as they say on PBS, viewers like you. Ed also thanks Bill Sack for preparing these videos for this screening, Polly Little for adding archival research and prep to her already full plate, and John Massier who assembled Tony Conrad @ Hallwalls for the gallery.