A presentation by the artist, in conversation with Robyn Farrell, Associate Curator, Modern and Contemporary Art, Art Institute of Chicago

Lynn Hershman Leeson

Virtual Lecture

Over the last three decades, artist and filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson (American, born 1941) has been internationally acclaimed for her art and films. One of the most influential media artists, Hershman Leeson is widely recognized for her innovative work investigating issues that are now recognized as key to the workings of society: the relationship between humans and technology, identity, surveillance, and the use of media as a tool of empowerment against censorship and political repression. Over the last forty years, she has made pioneering contributions to the fields of photography, video, film, performance, installation and interactive as well as net-based media art.



Lynn Hershman Leeson’s recent retrospective exhibition, “Civic Radar,” traveled from ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany (2014) to Deichtorhallen Hamburg / Sammlung Falckenberg, Germany (2015); Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg, Germany (2016); and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2017). Recent solo exhibitions have been held at Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo Comunidad de Madrid; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Haus der elektronischen Künste, Basel; Modern Art Oxford, United Kingdom; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at the de Young Museum, San Francisco; The Shed, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Institute of Contemporary Art Boston; Whitney Museum of American Art; and Whitechapel Gallery, London; as well as international exhibitions, including the Riga Biennial of Contemporary Art (2018), Glasgow International (2018), and the forthcoming Gwangju Biennial in Korea (2021). Her films have screened at the Sundance Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, and the Berlin International Film Festival, among others. Hershman Leeson has received numerous awards, including an Prix Ars Electronica (1995 and 2020 Award of Distinction); a VIA Art Fund Award (2019); Siggraph Lifetime Achievement Award (2017, 2019), the College Art Association’s Distinguished Feminist Award (2018), the Golden Gate Persistence of Vision Award from the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival (2017), a United States Artists Fellowship (2016), an Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2014), and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2009). Lynn Hershman Leeson will have her first solo exhibition in New York at the New Museum in 2021. She lives and works in San Francisco and New York.




Lynn Hershman Leeson, Constructing Roberta Breitmore, 1975/1977. Color photograph with paint. 38 x 26 1/2 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Bridget Donahue, New York.


Lynn Hershman Leeson, Lorna, 1979-1984. Video installation, color, sound: with television, interactive laser disc shown as DVD, modified remote control, television cabinet, night table, end table, wood chair, upholstered chair, mirror, fishbowl with plastic goldfish, clothing, wallet, belt , shoes, watch, telephone, magazines, framed storyboards, and framed art. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and Bridget Donahue, New York.

Lynn Hershman Leeson, Seduction, 1985. Gelatin silver print, 16 × 23 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Bridget Donahue, New York.