||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2010)|
Portrait of Tony Oursler
New York City
|Field||Video art, performance art, installation art|
|Training||1979 California Institute of the Arts, B.F.A|
Tony Oursler (born 1957) is a multimedia and installation artist. He completed a BA in fine arts at the California Institute for the Arts, Valencia, California in 1979. His art covers a range of mediums working with video, sculpture, installation, performance and painting. Oursler's work has been exhibited in prestigious institutions including the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Documenta VIII, IX, Kassel; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; The D.O.P. Private Foundation, Caracas; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Skulptur Projekte Münster; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC; the Tate, Liverpool. The artist currently lives and works in New York City.
Life and career
Tapes, Installations: 1977-1989
Tony Oursler is known for his fractured-narrative handmade video tapes including The Loner, 1980 and EVOL 1984. These works involve elaborate sound tracks, painted sets, stop-action animation and optical special effects created by the artist. The early videotapes have been exhibited extensively in alternative spaces and museums, they are distributed by Electronic Arts Intermix. His early installation works are immersive dark-room environments with video, sound, and language mixed with colorful constructed sculptural elements. In these projects, Oursler experimented with methods of removing the moving image from the video monitor using reflections in water, mirrors, glass and other devices. For example, "L-7, L-5", exhibited at the Kitchen NYC 1983, used the translucent quality of video reflected on broken glass.
Oursler began working with small LCD video projectors in 1991 in his installation "The Watching" presented at Documenta 9, featuring his first video doll and dummy. This work utilizes handmade soft cloth figures combined with expressive faces animated by video projection. Oursler then produced a series of installations that combined found objects and video projections. "Judy", 1993, explored the relationship between multiple personality disorder and mass media. "Get Away II" features a passive/aggressive projected figure wedged under a mattress that confronts the viewer with blunt direct address. These installations led to great popular and critical acclaim.
Signature works have been his talking lights, such as Streetlight (1997), his series of video sculptures of eyes with television screens reflected in the pupils, and ominous talking heads such as Composite Still Life (1999). An installation called Optics (1999) examines the polarity between dark and light in the history of the camera obscura. In his text "Time Stream", Oursler proposed that architecture and moving image installation have been forever linked by the camera obscura noting that cave dwellers observed the world as projections via peep holes. Oursler's interest in the ephemeral history of the virtual image lead to large scale public projects and permanent installations by 2000.
Public Projects: 2000-2009
The Public Art Fund and Artangel commissioned the "Influence Machine" in 2000. This installation marks the artist's first major outdoor project and thematically traced the development of successive communication devices from the telegraph to the personal computer as a means of speaking with the dead. Oursler used smoke, trees and buildings as projection screens in Madison Square Park NYC and Soho Square London. He then completed a number of permanent public projects in Barcelona, New Zealand, Arizona including "Braincast" at the Seattle Public Library. He is scheduled to complete a commission at the Frank Sinatra High School in Astoria, New York.
From October–December 2010, the Lehmann Maupin Gallery hosted Oursler's exhibition entitled "Peak". The exhibition was timed with Oursler's Valley, the inaugural exhibition of the Adobe Museum of Digital Media.
Oursler created the background videos that played at David Bowie's 50th birthday party concert in 1997, as well as the video to accompany Bowie's single "Where Are We Now?", released in January 2013.
- Metro Pictures, NYC (see official website)
- Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco, CA
- Lehmann Maupin Gallery
Film and video
See videos Electronic Arts Intermix 
- “Tony Oursler Video Projections” by Tony Oursler, Inner-Tube Videos. 2002, 27 minutes, Color. NY: Inner-Tube Videos.
- "The Loner, Tony Oursler". Electronic Arts Intermix. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
- Fineartkmv.com[dead link]
- "The Influence Machine homepage". Artangel. Retrieved October 9, 2010.
- "Tony Oursler". NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. February 16, 2011. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
- "Tony Oursler". Lehmann Maupin. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
- LehmannMaupin.com[dead link]
- Kemp, Mark (March 6, 1997), "All The Young Dudes", Rolling Stone (755): 24
- "David Bowie releases first single in a decade". BBC News. January 8, 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
- "Oursler". Gallery Paule Anglim. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
- "Tony Oursler". Electronic Arts Intermix. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
- Official website
- Metro Pictures: Tony Oursler
- Lisson Gallery: Tony Oursler
- Tony Oursler in the Video Data Bank
- Tony Oursler in the Mediateca Media Art Space
- Tony Oursler at Kadist Art Foundation
- "Tony Oursler Solo Show at PinchukArtCentre in Kyiv, Ukraine". Huffington Post. February 18, 2013. Retrieved November 24, 2013.