Modern and Contemporary
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Tony Oursler (American, born 1957),
The Three Faces of... , 1996
fiberglass; video disc; electronic playback gear, sphere: 18 in.; 45.72 cm
Museum purchase with funds from the Collectors' Circle for Contemporary Art, 1998.49.A-C

Oursler takes as his subject matter the contemporary media-obsessed human psyche, fashioning mini-dramas filled with sharp humor and thought-provoking irony. He uses television and videotape in the creation of mesmerizing and often disturbing video projections onto such surfaces as this orb. In The Three Faces of…, we assume the role of voyeur, looking at the image of an eye that is watching television. Oursler's source, a well-known movie about a schizophrenic, demonstrates his interest in multiple personality disorder, for which he finds an equivalent in the habit of channel surfing. The artist suggests that our mass-media-informed preoccupation with continual visual stimulus creates masks for our true selves. The eye, no longer a window to the soul, projects only an outward gaze.

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