Lynn Hershman Leeson

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Lynn Hershman Leeson_table_infobox_0

Lynn Hershman LeesonLynn Hershman Leeson_header_cell_0_0_0
BornLynn Hershman Leeson_header_cell_0_1_0 1941 (age 78–79)

Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.Lynn Hershman Leeson_cell_0_1_1

NationalityLynn Hershman Leeson_header_cell_0_2_0 AmericanLynn Hershman Leeson_cell_0_2_1
EducationLynn Hershman Leeson_header_cell_0_3_0 Case Western Reserve University, San Francisco State UniversityLynn Hershman Leeson_cell_0_3_1
OccupationLynn Hershman Leeson_header_cell_0_4_0 Artist, filmmakerLynn Hershman Leeson_cell_0_4_1
Known forLynn Hershman Leeson_header_cell_0_5_0 Lynn Hershman Leeson_cell_0_5_1
Notable workLynn Hershman Leeson_header_cell_0_6_0 Lynn Hershman Leeson_cell_0_6_1
AwardsLynn Hershman Leeson_header_cell_0_7_0 Lynn Hershman Leeson_cell_0_7_1
WebsiteLynn Hershman Leeson_header_cell_0_8_0 Lynn Hershman Leeson_cell_0_8_1

Lynn Hershman Leeson (born Cleveland, Ohio, US, 1941) is an American artist and filmmaker. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_0

Her work combines art with social commentary, particularly on the relationship between people and technology. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_1

Leeson's work in media-based technology helped legitimize digital art forms. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_2

Education Lynn Hershman Leeson_section_0

Leeson earned a bachelor's degree in Education, Museum Administration and Fine Arts from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland (1963) and a Master of Fine Arts from San Francisco State University (1972). Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_3

Career Lynn Hershman Leeson_section_1

Leeson's work has as its themes: identity in a time of consumerism, privacy in an era of surveillance, interfacing of humans and machines, and the relationship between real and virtual worlds. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_4

Her work grew out of an installation art and performance tradition, with an emphasis on interactivity. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_5

With a practice spanning more than 40 years, Leeson has worked in performance, moving image, drawing, collage, text-based work, site-specific interventions, and later new media / digital technologies, and interactive net-based works. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_6

Her projects explore technology in digital media and science. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_7

Leeson was the first artist to launch an interactive piece using Videodisc, a precursor to DVD (Lorna, 1983–84), as well the first artist to incorporate a touch screen interface into her artwork (Deep Contact, 1984–1989). Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_8

Her networked robotic art installation (The Difference Engine #3, 1995–1998) is an example of her tendency to expand her artwork beyond the traditional realms of art. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_9

Work by Lynn Hershman Leeson is featured in the public collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the William Lehmbruck Museum, the ZKM (Zentrum fur Kunst und Medientechnologie), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Canada, di Rosa, the Walker Art Center and the University Art Museum, Berkeley, in addition to the private collections of Donald Hess and Arturo Schwarz, among many others. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_10

Commissions include projects for the Tate Modern, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, de Young Museum, Daniel Langlois and Stanford University, and Charles Schwab. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_11

Alter ego Lynn Hershman Leeson_section_2

From 1974 until 1978, Leeson ‘developed’ a fictional persona and alter ego of "Roberta Breitmore." Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_12

It consisted not only of a physical self-transformation through make-up, clothing, and wigs, but a fully-fledged personality existing over an extended period of time and whose existence could be proven in the world through physical evidence: from a driver’s license and credit card to letters from her psychiatrist. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_13

This was later taken to further lengths when Leeson introduced another three ‘Robertas’, by hiring other performers to enact her character. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_14

These ‘clones’ of Roberta adopted the same look and attire, engaged in some of Roberta’s correspondence and also went on some of Roberta (Leeson’s) dates. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_15

Towards the end, the ‘original’ Roberta, withdrew from her character leaving the three ‘clones’ to continue her work, until they were retired in a performance at the Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara, Italy in 1978, during an exorcism at the grave of Lucrezia Borgia. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_16

What remains are the physical artefacts of any life: documentation and personal effects such as legal and medical documents and a diary). Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_17

Between 1995–2000 Roberta transformed into the CybeRoberta, an interactive artificial intelligent sculpture on the web. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_18

In 2006 Roberta Breitmore developed into a character in Second Life. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_19

After Stanford University acquired her archive, Leeson worked with Henry Lowood (Stanford Humanities Lab) to convert parts of the archive into something for a broader public. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_20

They worked to recreate and re-enact both Roberta Breitmore and The Dante Hotel in a virtual space. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_21

LORNA Lynn Hershman Leeson_section_3

LORNA was an early project of Leeson's. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_22

The first interactive laser artdisk, LORNA tells the story of an Agoraphobic woman. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_23

Viewers have the option of directing her life into several possible plots and endings. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_24

LORNA never left her one-room apartment. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_25

As LORNA watched the news and ads, she became fearful, afraid to leave her tiny room. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_26

Viewers were invited to liberate LORNA from her fears, using remote control units. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_27

The plot has multiple variations that can be seen backwards, forwards, at increased or decreased speeds, and from several points of view. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_28

There is no hierarchy in the ordering of decisions. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_29

And the icons were often made of cut-off and dislocated body parts such as a mouth, or an eye. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_30

Agent Ruby Lynn Hershman Leeson_section_4

In 2001, Leeson created the "Agent Ruby" for the SFMOMA . Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_31

Since that time Agent Ruby has conversed with online users, which has shaped her memory, knowledge, and moods. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_32

In 2013 the SFMOMA presented Lynn Hershman Leeson: The Agent Ruby Files. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_33

This digital and analog presentation reinterprets dialogues drawn from the decade-long archive of text files of Agent Ruby’s conversations with online users and reflects on technologies, recurrent themes, and patterns of audience engagement. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_34

Films and documentaries Lynn Hershman Leeson_section_5

A 1990 documentary, Desire Inc. features a series of seductive television ads in which a sexy woman asked for viewers to call her. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_35

Leeson's four feature films - Strange Culture, Teknolust, Conceiving Ada, and !Women Art Revolution, - have been part of the Sundance Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival and The Berlin International Film Festival, among others, and have won numerous awards. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_36

In 2011 Hershman released the ground-breaking !Women Art Revolution, a feature-length documentary about the feminist art movement in the United States. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_37

According to Leeson: Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_38

She (among others) was interviewed for the film. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_39

As part of her 2014 exhibition "How To Disappear," she premiered her video The Ballad of JT LeRoy, examining Laura Albert's use of the literary persona JT LeRoy. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_40

Reflecting on the parallels between JT LeRoy and Roberta Breitmore, Hershman Leeson has commented: Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_41

Retrospectives Lynn Hershman Leeson_section_6

In 2007 a retrospective at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, Autonomous Agents, featured a comprehensive range of the artist's work - from the Roberta Breitmore series (1974–78) to videos from the 1980s and interactive installations that use the Internet and artificial intelligence software. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_42

Her influential early ventures into performance and photography are also featured in the current touring exhibition WACK! Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_43

Art and the Feminist Revolution, organized by the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_44

The Art and Films of Lynn Hershman Leeson: Secret Agents, Private I, was published by The University of California Press in 2005 on the occasion of another retrospective at the Henry Gallery in Seattle. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_45

In 2014 The ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art in Karlsruhe, Germany held "Civic Radar", a retrospective of Hershman Leeson's work. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_46

The ZKM Museum described the retrospective as having "realized the first retrospective which not only ensures an overview of all creative phases in Lynn Hershman Leeson’s oeuvre but also the most recent productions of this innovative artist." Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_47

While encompassing a wide body of Hershman's work throughout the years, as an exhibition, "Civic Radar" highlights Hershman's interest in technology, looking closely at artificial intelligence and genetic modification. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_48

In 2017, "Civic Radar," Hershman's retrospective from ZKM was hosted at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_49

Solo exhibitions Lynn Hershman Leeson_section_7

Grants and awards Lynn Hershman Leeson_section_8

Lynn Hershman Leeson has been honored with grants from Creative Capital, The National Endowment for the Arts, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Siemens International Media Arts Award, Prix Ars Electronica, and Alfred P Sloan Foundation Prize for Writing and Directing. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_50

In 2009 she was the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_51

Also in 2009, she received the SIGGRAPH Distinguished Artist Award. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_52

The Digital Art Museum in Berlin recognized her work with the d.develop digital award (ddaa) for Lifetime Achievement in the field of New Media in 2010. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_53

Her work was recently included in Arthur and Marilouise Kroker's Top Ten for the January 2013 issue of Artforum. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_54

In 2014, IFP Pixel Market Prize went to The Infinity Engine starring Tilda Swinton, directed by Lynn Hershman Leeson in collaboration with producer Lisa Cortes, whose credits include the Academy Award and Sundance Film Festival winning film Precious. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_55

The Infinity Engine is an installation, film and online interactive website. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_56

The prize comprises a six-month fellowship at the Media Center and an invitation to participate in next year’s No Borders programme. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_57

Leeson was also featured in the Women's eNews "21 Leaders for the 21st Century" special in 2014 for her role in empowering young female artists to strengthen their artistic voices. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_58

Her documentary !W.A.R. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_59

raises awareness for the fact that the art world is a male-dominated realm and explores the many influential works of female artists over the decades. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_60

Hershman Leeson served as Chair of the Film Department at the San Francisco Art Institute, as Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Davis, and as an A. D. White Professor at Large at Cornell University. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_61

She is the 2013–2014 Dorothy H. Hirshon "Director in Residence" at The New School. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_62

In 2004, Stanford University Libraries acquired Hershman Leeson's working archive. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_63

Stanford also acquired a collection of the interviews compiled for Hershman Leeson's 2010 documentary !Women Art Revolution. Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_64

In 2018, The Women's Caucus for Art awarded Lynn Hershman Leeson with the Lifetime Achievement Award, in Los Angeles CA Lynn Hershman Leeson_sentence_65

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Hershman Leeson.