Thursday, April 29, 2010

Op Tape

. William Furlong interviewing Philip Glass for Audio Arts, ca.1982

There's a great article in this morning's
New York Times on William Furlong, who in London in the early-'70s founded Audio Arts – a cassette periodical consisting entirely of his conversations with artists, minor and major, old and new. “It was quite a revolutionary piece of kit,” he says of these magazines in cassette form. "If you put it in the post, it could be in the United States in two days or all the way to Australia in three or four. In some ways it did feel like the Internet of its day.”

Furlong produced Audio Arts for over thirty years, and at its high-point circulation reached into the thousands. But for being what the Tate Museum describes in the article as "the most comprehensive collection of artists' voices in the world," it remained an obscurity, known to only those who knew. Luckily for the rest of us, the Tate acquired the magazine's entire archive in 2004, and now Phaidon will publish transcripts of some of the best of Furlong's interviews in a new book, Speaking of Art.

Read the Times article and hear some
Audio Arts excerpts (Damien Hirst, James Rosenquist, Shirin Nashat) at Much more, in both audio and transcript form, can be found at

In the '80s, William Furlong also produced a number of records, consisting of sound collages more than actual interviews.

I don't have any of them but I'll be on the hunt.
[LP image via

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to the NYT's article.