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UB to celebrate life and work of Tony Conrad

UB will celebrate the life and work of the late faculty member Tony Conrad with a PLASMA event showcasing his film and sound works. Photo: Douglas Levere

By CRAIG GARAAS-JOHNSON

Published April 27, 2016

“Tony set an example of creative vigor, playfulness and excellence for generations of DMS students.”
Josephine Anstey, associate professor and chair
Department of Media Study

The Department of Media Study and the College of Arts and Sciences will celebrate the life and work of pioneering faculty member Tony Conrad on May 2 with an evening showcasing his film and sound works.

The tribute, the last event in this year’s PLASMA series, honors Conrad, SUNY Distinguished Professor who died April 9 at the age of 76. Conrad, who had retired from his faculty position at the start of the spring semester, was instrumental in envisioning and developing PLASMA, a speaker series focused on the innovations in media art and culture that are shaping the new millennium communication world.

“Tony Conrad: Celebration of Life and Work” will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the Center for the Arts. It is free and open to the public; a reception will follow.

A SUNY Distinguished Professor and a faculty member in the Department of Media Studies for nearly 40 years, the event celebrates Conrad’s impact on UB and on avant-garde expression.

“Tony set an example of creative vigor, playfulness and excellence for generations of DMS students,” says Josephine Anstey, department chair and associate professor, and friend of Conrad. “The department will miss him immensely as an experimental video artist and musician, as a colleague who played a crucial leadership role with his expansive vision of media study as a vital area of research and creative activity, and as an eminent mentor and teacher.”  

Internationally recognized as an experimental artist, Conrad produced groundbreaking work in the visual arts, film, video and music.

His early experimental film “The Flicker,” which exploits the strobing effect of the cinematic image, is considered a cornerstone of structural filmmaking.

A violinist who studied part time at the Peabody Conservatory of Music before receiving a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Harvard, Conrad also was among the founders of minimal music, which developed as an accompaniment to minimal art in the 1960s.

His work has been exhibited at venues around the world, among them the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany; the Galerie Daniel Buchholz in Cologne, Germany; and the Greene-Naftali Gallery and Whitney Museum, both in New York City. He was an invited artist at the 2011 Venice Biennale.

For more information about Conrad’s life and work, read his obituary in the UB Reporter.