No. 273: Tony Oursler, WWI and American Art

Episode No. 273  of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features artist Tony Oursler and historian and curator Anne Classen Knutson.

The Museum of Modern Art is showing Tony Oursler’s Imponderable (2015-16), a 90-minute film shown in an immersive, so-called “5-D” environment, as well as archival material related to the film from Oursler’s own collection. The film mines Ourlser’s interest in experiments in technological advancement that didn’t quite work out and occult phenomena to offer a kind of alternative history of modernism. The film is richly informed by Oursler’s own life history. His grandfather was Charles Fulton Oursler, a journalist and author who teamed up with Harry Houdini to campaign against fraudulent mediumship. The exhibition was curated by MoMA’s Stuart Comer and Erica Papernik-Shimizu. Imponderable is at MoMA through April 16.

Oursler is a multimedia and installation artist whose work often examines and uses new technologies to explore topics such as facial recognition, paranormal phenomena and the relationship between multiple personality disorder and mass media. Among the museums to have devoted exhibitions to Oursler’s work are the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, Va., the Stedelijk in Amsterdam, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

On the second segment, historian and curator Anne Classen Knutson discusses “World War I and American Art,” which is at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts through April 9. The exhibition looks at how American artists responded to and engaged with the war, both in Europe and in the United States. Knutson co-curated the show with Robert Cozzolino and David Lubin. The exhibition’s excellent catalogue was published by Princeton University Press. Amazon offers it for $60.

Air date: January 26, 2017.

Tony Oursler, Still from Imponderable, 2015-16.

Tony Oursler, Still from Imponderable, 2015-16.

Tony Oursler, The Influence Machine, as installed in Edinburgh, 2016.

Tony Oursler, The Influence Machine, as installed in Edinburgh, 2016.

Tony Oursler, The Influence Machine, as installed in Edinburgh, 2016.

Tony Oursler, The Influence Machine, as installed in Edinburgh, 2016.

Tony Oursler, The Influence Machine, as installed in Edinburgh, 2016.

Tony Oursler, The Influence Machine, as installed in Edinburgh, 2016.

Tony Oursler, Piggy, 1994.

Tony Oursler, Piggy, 1994.

Tony Oursler, Shroud, 1994.

Tony Oursler, Shroud, 1994.

Tony Oursler, TRUKE, 2014.

Tony Oursler, TRUKE, 2014.

John Marin, Lower Manhattan (Composing Derived from Top of Woolworth), 1922.

John Marin, Lower Manhattan (Composing Derived from
Top of Woolworth), 1922.

Rotogravure from the New York Times, October 17, 1915.

Rotogravure from the New York Times, October 17, 1915.

Georgia O'Keeffe, Drawing XIII, 1915.

Georgia O’Keeffe, Drawing XIII, 1915.

John Marin, Abstraction, 1917.

John Marin, Abstraction, 1917.

John Marin, Movement B, 1917.

John Marin, Movement B, 1917.

Rotogravure, New York Times, September 10, 1916.

Rotogravure, New York Times, September 10, 1916.

 

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