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Flash Art 322 – Tony Conrad

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Flash Art breaks new boundaries with each issue. Featuring articles and interviews on new and emerging artists who will one day be the stars of the contemporary art market.


Flash Art 322 – Tony Conrad | Issue September/October 2018

Flash Art 322 | The cover of this issue of Flash Art portrays Tony Conrad, an avant-garde filmmaker, pioneering musician, artist, theorist, philosopher, committed teacher, and activist. On the occasion of Conrad’s traveling retrospective, soon on view at the MIT List Visual Arts Center and the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University, we dedicate a twelve-page dossier to this unique figure in the recent history of arts and culture. An essay by Nora N. Khan considers Conrad’s vast creative output, the result of his dedication to challenging the boundaries between artistic categories. “Nearly every piece in Conrad’s oeuvre shows evidence of a shifted frame, from the instruments made from rusty Band-Aid boxes, coke bottles, tin foil, copper tubing, wire, scraps of wood, and tape, to the many hours of rangy, hysterical, buoyant, and strange video works,” Khan writes. “Creating new taxonomies by pushing the frame was a political act: not only the literal frame, but any attempt to frame, to position, to establish criteria that go unexamined… The choice of a frame was the moment of creating meaning.” Along with Khan’s text, musician and artist Charlemagne Palestine pays homage to Conrad’s memory by recounting their musical partnership — fifty years of what he calls “aural symbiosis.”

This issue includes also the “CCCO (Cultural Capital Cooperative Object) License Agreement,” a document drafted by artists Nikita Gale, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Candice Lin, Nour Mobarak, Blaine O’Neill, and Patrick Staff, working as the Cultural Capital Cooperative (CCC). The licensing agreement, which the cooperative drafted in dialogue with lawyer Daniel McClean, provides an answer to questions about how to collectively produce works of art, and moreover, how the cooperative as a model of mutual ownership might envision the future sale and transfer of works. In CCC’s words, “[it] seeks to counter the contemporary art market’s usual focus on the individual isolated artist.” In doing so, the license agreement is a legal mechanism available to other artists — “as an instrument, as a proposition… and with a knowing possibility for its further unauthorized reproduction or adaptation.”

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