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J.G. Thirlwell

The Spiritual Failure of Tony Oursler’s “Imponderable”

by Rhett Jones on July 22, 2016
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Is there a secret, intertwined history that ties together mass media, spiritualist con artists, pulp fiction and the unreliability of the image? Tony Oursler’s “Imponderable” would like you to think so. The multimedia artist’s latest work (on at MoMA through January 8th, 2017) is a 90-minute immersive video experience that attempts to draw connections between all of those topics as well as his own familial autobiography and other threads that relate to his collection of spiritualist memorabilia. Unfortunately, when the work seems to come close to solidifying a thematic relationship between the various subjects on its mind, it tends to feel a bit like a magician clumsily employing misdirection. The audience sees a hat, a beautiful assistant and a rabbit up the sleeve, but no magic.

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