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“Directions—Tony Oursler: Video Dolls with Tracy Leipold”

In a recent piece, New York video artist Tony Oursler filled a room with eyes. Oursler had videotaped them as they blinked, stared, watched television, or cried; then projected their images onto fiberglass spheres arranged inside a darkened room—some hanging from the ceiling, some placed on the floor, others mounted on tripods. The resultant constellation of disembodied organs, exhibited in combination with an aural collage of found sounds, was both hauntingly beautiful and profoundly unsettling. The works in Oursler’s first solo museum show in D.C., opening Thursday, July 2, and running through September 7, are equally powerful. Created with the assistance of performance artist Tracy Leipold, the six “video dolls” on view all feature the projected image of Leipold’s face. In Submerged, it appears trapped in a water-filled tank. In Let’s Switch, it’s projected onto the disturbingly featureless heads of two calico-bodied dolls, which alternately snipe and coo at each other like an even more unbalanced Akbar and Jeff. Expect to be riveted and repulsed. Oursler and Leipold discuss the pieces today at noon, and Oursler returns at 7:15 p.m. to screen and comment on clips from films and television shows that have influenced his work. Thursday, July 2, at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Ring Auditorium, 7th & Independence Ave. SW. Free. (202) 357-2700. (Leonard Roberge)