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Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts after Cage

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  40 ratings  ·  7 reviews

Tony Conrad has significantly influenced cultural developments fromminimalism to underground film, "concept art," postmodern appropriation, and the most sophisticated rock and roll. Creator of the "structural"film, The Flicker, collaborator on Jack Smith's Flaming Creatures and Normal Love, follower of Henry Flynt's radical anti-art, member of the Theatre of Eternal Musica

Hardcover, 479 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Zone Books (NY)
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One of the books that got me through the '09 holidays. Joseph follows Conrad through a series of different art/cultural associations in the NY avant garde of the '60s from Cage, La Monte Young, Henry Flynt, Jack Smith and ending with a chapter on Conrad's film "The Flicker". Along the way, we get a very different narrative of the transitional moment from Cagean and Fluxus avant garde of the '50s to the founding years of minimalism and conceptualism. I'm particularly grateful for the book because ...more
Philip Cherny
An interesting and informative read, though I felt some of Joseph's arguments were a little unclear or needed more discussion, like how exactly Conrad's "Flicker" actually (rather than intentionally) differed from Manford L. Eaton’s concept of "bio-music" and challenged the imposed normative functions of society rather than made individuals more susceptible to them by simply putting into this trans-like "anechoic" reflexive/solipsistic state. I've always been interested in Tony Conrad however, a ...more
Jun 30, 2008 Scott rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Minimalists, art-film historians, people who own "Slapping Pythagoras"
A quite good read for people who are interested in the mid-sixties NYC Fluxus-Minimalism-Pop intersection. I think this book would have been a bit more enjoyable if not structured like a monograph. It made discerning the sequence of some events overly obtuse. Also while I enjoyed the ample amount of information about Conrad's friends and collaborators, the digression in to some issues tended to disinterest me personally. Specifically I don't care as much for the intensely detailed analysis of Ca ...more

The context that this provides, and the alternating influence of the myraid of interests that inform Conrad's work is on display here. That it is near impossible to chart the mutual inspiration that these endeavors contribute to the development of his work at each stage, and the likely lineage of when his ideas take shape before projects are realized, are respectfully dealt with here. he goes no further than would be realistic.

I hope that Branden W. Joseph revisits this idea in about 30 years.
A much needed monograph on one of the most influential yet unacknowledged American artists of the second half of the 20th century; Conrad was in at the ground floor of Fluxus and happenings, was a massive voice in the birth of musical Minimalism (he taught just intonation to La Monte Young), played in early incarnations of the band that became the Velvet Underground, and was a pioneer of Structural Film. Conrad's activities have spanned discipline and approach, and Joseph writes eloquently of ho ...more
read a chapter for class. into the "ecological" method, but it leads to a lot of block quotes to slog through!
eric namour
amazing for now - despite stopping for a while
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Random Order: Robert Rauschenberg and the Neo-Avant-Garde Robert Rauschenberg Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts After Cage: A "Minor" History Branden W. Joseph: The Roh and the Cooked: With an Essay by Tony Conrad Is It My Body?

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