Transfigured New York
Transfigured New York presents conversations with iconic, genre-bending artists who shaped the sounds of experimental movements like no wave, avant-jazz, and electronic music. As an undergrad in the 1980s, Brooke Wentz hosted the show Transfigured Night on Columbia University’s WKCR-FM, discussing art and ideas with avant-garde music luminaries. She unearths these candid interviews—heard before only when first broadcast—from cassettes and reel-to-reel tapes, letting readers today feel the excitement and creative energy of the 1980s New York underground scene.
Musicians and artists, now icons of their craft, tell their stories and share their thoughts about the creative process, capturing the ambition and energy that animated their work. Legends in the making like Bill Frisell, Philip Glass, and Laurie Anderson convey what it was like to be a struggling artist in 1980s New York, when the city was alive with possibilities. Others who were well known at the time, including John Cage, La Monte Young, and Ravi Shankar, advocate for their distinctive ideas about art and open up about their creative lives.
Featuring an astonishing range of interviewees—Morton Subotnick, Joan Tower, Steve Reich, Glenn Branca, Joan La Barbara, Living Colour, Arthur Russell, John Lurie, Eric Bogosian, Bill T. Jones, and many more—Transfigured New York provides new insight into the city’s cultural landscape in this era. It is a one-of-a-kind account of one of the most exhilarating and inventive periods for art and culture in New York City’s history.