Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts After Cage: A "Minor" History
Tony Conrad and the Arts After Cage
Tony Conrad is exemplary of the 1960s artist who remains inassimilable to canonic histories. 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 Music and the first incarnation of The Velvet Underground, and early associate of Mike Kelley, Tony Oursler, and Cindy Sherman, Conrad has significantly impacted cultural developments from minimalism to underground film, “concept art,” postmodern appropriation, and the most sophisticated rock and roll. Yet Beyond the Dream Syndicate does not claim Conrad as a major but under-recognized figure.
Rather, by drawing on Deleuzian notions of the “minor” and the Foucauldian problematization of authorship found in Conrad’s own artistic/musical project, Early Minimalism, it disperses him into an “author function.” Neither monograph nor social history, the book takes Conrad’s collaborative interactions as a guiding thread by which to investigate the contiguous networks and discursive interconnections amongst the arts of the time.
Branden W. Joseph is Frank Gallipoli Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University and an editor of the journal Grey Room (MIT Press).
"Joseph moves across and between disciplinary genres of scholarship, and thereby challenges the reader's capacity to think outside familiar categories. This study sits at the fringes of several academic disciplines and, to its credit, fits squarely within none."--Stephen Petersen, Leonardo Reviews "A superb book." Daniel Birnbaum Artforum "[A] meticulous and imaginative study... a vital argument for recasting in unlikely, counterintuitive or even absurd ways the cultural histories we think we know best... a compelling and exemplary history." Art Review "Branden W. Joseph's new book Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts after Cage is a necessary and timely one. In sum, Joseph has succeeded in substantially altering our notion of the so-called expanded field of art and film. With its meticulous research and precise mode of argumentation, Beyond the Dream Syndicate sets an important standard for future scholars..." Texte zur Kunst "Branden W. Joseph"s new book, Beyond the Dream Syndicate, is a major contribution to our thinking about this period... an immensely engaging -- and important -- book." Modern Painters "Joseph writes powerfully... and with a brio most academic writers can only dream about... a major book" The Wire