Posted by Cory Arcangel on


Arcangel Surfware is excited and pleased to announce the publication of Tony Conrad’s, Music and the Mind of the World. Visitors can stream this work for free at:

The expansive work, created from 1976 to 1982, serves as a record of years’ worth of Conrad’s experimentation with the piano. A composition of over 200 hours of recorded music, Music and the Mind of the World is comprised of hundreds of recorded entries marked by date. In the seven-year span the work was created, every encounter Conrad had with a piano was recorded (with the incidental exception of perhaps three or four hours). In this endeavor—which includes the sounds of practicing, banging on the keys, formal exercises, experiments with the harmonic sonority of the piano itself, and even On Top of Old Smokey—we witness what might in essence be described as the total encounter between an improvising performer and the central instrument of Western musical culture.

Now, for the first time, this influential yet largely unknown work will be published and available online for free on April 3nd, 2017 at

The release will coincide with the Tony Conrad Memorial taking place in New York City in March and April, 2017. A full listing of events for the memorial is available at:

Music and the Mind of the World is published by Arcangel Surfware (Cory Arcangel, Elliot Kaufman, Gil Gentile, Amanda Schmidt); with archival programming and data manipulation by Henry Van Dusen; archival audio services by George Blood, L.P.; mastering by Jon Cohrs at Spleenless Mastering; and web programming and design by Familiar Studio. Special thanks to Greene Naftali Gallery and Galerie Buchholz for their support. © Tony Conrad Estate


Throughout the six decades of his career, Tony Conrad (1940–2016) stretched the limits of music and performance. In the 1960s, he drafted post-Cagean music compositions and text pieces, collaborating with artists such as Henry Flynt, Jack Smith, and—as part of legendary drone ensemble Theatre of Eternal Music—La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela, and John Cale. By the mid-’60s, Conrad had begun to focus his attention on film; in 1966, he created The Flicker, a stroboscopic masterpiece which stands as one of the first examples of structural film.

From then on, Conrad’s socially-engaged multimedia works, such as Straight and Narrow and Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain, continued to push boundaries while investigating notions of authorship, viewership, discipline, and power.

In the ’70s, Conrad turned his attention to new media, working alongside artists such as Paul Sharits and Hollis Frampton while a professor State University of New York at Buffalo. In the ensuing decades, Conrad was a leader in Buffalo’s film, media, and educational communities through involvement with the Squeaky Wheel Media Coalition, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo Cable Access Media, and the Department of Media Study at the university.

Conrad continued to make films in the ’80s, working with—and proving a major influence on—a younger generation of artists, namely Mike Kelley and Tony Oursler. The ’90s brought a resurgence of interest in Conrad’s music, with new and archival releases creating a wider audience than ever before for his groundbreaking minimal compositions.

Conrad performed music, screened films, and exhibited art in numerous mediums at festivals and institutions throughout the world, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Tate Modern. He had recently been the subject of solo exhibitions at Greene Naftali Gallery, New York; Galerie Buchholz, Cologne; and 80WSE, New York University. His films and artworks are in the collections of the Whitney Museum, the Albright-Knox Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, and the ZKM Center for Art and Media, among others. He continued to teach, perform, transgress, and inspire up until his passing on April 9, 2016. A radical and thoughtful visionary, Tony Conrad is missed.



Arcangel Surfware is a non-aspirational lifestyle and publishing company founded by artist Cory Arcangel in 2014.

For press inquiries, please contact Lauren Studebaker at info AT arcangelsurfware DOT biz & Joe Bucciero joe AT greenenaftaligallery DOT com