Tony Oursler
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Tony Oursler

Always rooted in the medium of film, Tony Oursler conjures sculptural and immersive experiences using technologies that hark back to magic lanterns, Victorian light shows, camera obscura and auratic parlour tricks, but that also look forward to the fully networked, digitally assisted future of image and identity production. As a pioneer of video art in early 1980s New York, Oursler specialized in hallucinogenic dramaturgy and radical formal experimentation, employing animation, montage and live action: “My early idea of what could be art for my generation was an exploded TV”. From performative and low-fi beginnings, Oursler has developed an ever-evolving multimedia and audio-visual practice utilising projections, video screens, sculptures and optical devices, which might take form as figurative puppets, ethereal talking automatons or immersive, cacophonous environments. His enduring fascination for the conjunctions between the diametrically opposed worlds of science and spiritualism have allowed him to explore all kinds of occult and mystical phenomena.


Oursler received a BFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 1979.  Solo exhibitions of his work have been organized at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2014); CaixaForum Madrid, Spain (2017); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2016); LUMA Foundation, Arles, France (2015); Tate Modern, London (2013); Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo (2013); PinchukArtCentre, Kiev, Ukraine (2013); Art Sonje Center, Seoul (2012); ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum Denmark (2012); and Jeu de Paume, Paris, traveling to the DA2 Domus Artium, Salamanca, and the Kunstforeningen, Copenhagen (2005). Select group exhibitions featuring his work include Before Projection: Video Sculpture 1974-1995, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge (2018), Creature, The Broad, Los Angeles (2016); America Is Hard to See, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2015); Disembodied, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (2013); Mike Kelley, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2013); The Royal Family, Hayward Gallery Project Space, London (2012); Off the Wall: Part 1—Thirty Performative Actions, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2010); Spazio: The Scene and the Imaginary, Museo Nazionale delle arti del XXI Secolo, Rome (2010); Looking at Music, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2008); and California Video, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (2008). Oursler’s work is in numerous public and private collections, including the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris; Eli Broad Family Foundation, Los Angeles; Goetz Collection, Munich; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Milwaukee Art Museum, WI; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Saatchi Collection, London; Tate Modern, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

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