Tony Oursler : Tear of The Cloud

Public Art Fund Talks at The New School Thu 1 Nov 2018 6.30PM-8.00PM The New School, Tishman Auditorium
63 5th Ave
New York City

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Since the 1980s, Tony Oursler (b. 1957, New York, NY) has been one the most experimental artists of his generation, consistently redefining installation art and the moving image. Tear of the Cloud is his newest and most extensive site-specific multimedia artwork, with five digital projections superimposed onto the landmarked 69th Street Transfer Bridge Gantry, the surrounding landscape, and the flowing water of the Hudson River itself. These spectral images combine with an evocative soundscape to create a dramatic experience that transforms Riverside Park each night.

Growing up on the banks of the Hudson River sparked Oursler's fascination with its entwined cultural, technological, and ecological narratives, inspiring him to create an artwork that poetically mines the varied activities of the region. Oursler's newly filmed footage highlights obscure subjects and popular culture, with performers portraying figures as wide-ranging as the Hudson River School painters, the 19th century utopian community of Oneida, the strong female lead Pearl White of early serial silent cinema created on the Palisades, and the pioneers who developed experimental music in Lower Manhattan and the South Bronx, among others. The exhibition also explores the more doleful stories of Mary Rogers' infamous murder at Sibyl's Cave in New Jersey and the dubious legacy of PCB contamination of the waters, as well as a rethinking of the antecedents, origins, and offspring of telecommunication by way of the talking drum, inventor Samuel F.B. Morse's final painting of his daughter The Muse, IBM's chess-playing computer Deep Blue, artificial intelligence, and the political agitation of social media bots.

Tear of the Cloud manifests this data by remixing contemporary and historic iconography in a non-linear, associative rereading of official narratives. Oursler's kaleidoscopic intervention interweaves its roving cast of characters like the many tributaries that feed the Hudson River, offering layered connections and multiple meanings that illuminate our complicated past, encourage us to reflect upon the present, and inspire us to reconsider the future of our environment and culture.

Tony Oursler (b. 1957, New York, NY) lives and works in New York City. His museum exhibitions include The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2017); Magasin III Museum & Foundation for Contemporary Art, Stockholm, Sweden (2016); Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, Annandale-On-Hudson, NY (2016); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2016); LUMA Westbau, Zurich, Switzerland (2015); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2014); Oude Kerk, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2014); Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev, Ukraine (2013); ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark (2012); Helsinki City Art Museum, Finland; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2005); Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2001); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2000) and Kunstverein Hannover, Germany (1998). He has also participated in prestigious group exhibitions including documenta VIII and IX, Kassel, Germany (1987 and 1992). Oursler's work is included in public collections worldwide, among them the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Museum of Osaka, Japan; Tate Collection, London, UK; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands and ZMK/Center for Art & Media, Karlsruhe, Germany.

About the Talk
A pioneer of video art in the early 1980s in New York, Tony Oursler has developed an experimental and innovative practice that utilizes projections, optical devices, audio, video, and sculpture to move images away from the white wall and onto unexpected surfaces or environments. Employing dramaturgy, stop motion, and live action, his films draw inspiration from mystic and spiritual phenomena, while frequently making reference to science and technological advancements, to create a dialogue between perception and communication.

The artist's talk on November 1 at The New School accompanies his dynamic new Public Art Fund commission Tear of the Cloud, on view at Riverside Park South from October 10th through October 31st. Oursler will offer insight into the development of this highly technical multi-media installation, and will share stories and anecdotes gleaned through his rigorous research into the Hudson River region.

Tear of the Cloud will be presented in the evenings over a three-week-period and features a new, multi-part video and sound work projected onto the river, historic gantry, and surrounding landscape, creating a dramatic visual and auditory experience inspired by the many intertwined histories of the Hudson River. Oursler's immersive work will showcase newly created footage featuring characters, iconography, and imagery associated with the history of the Hudson River and the surrounding area, creating an ambient and exploratory experience for audiences.

Public Art Fund Talks at The New School are organized by the Public Art Fund in collaboration with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School.

The exhibition is curated by Public Art Fund Associate Curator, Daniel S. Palmer.

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