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Hershmanlandia: The Art and Films of
Lynn Hershman Leeson

Henry Art Gallery:
Seattle WA Nov 5-Feb 5, 2006

Lynn Hershman Leeson - Roberta Construction Chart
Lynn Hershman Leeson, Roberta Construction Chart (1975), Chromogenic print [Henry Art Gallery, Seattle WA, Nov 5-Feb 5]

For over three decades, the work of San Francisco artist Lynn Hershman Leeson has explored shifting notions of identity, self-analysis and privacy in an exploding technological consumer society. This touring exhibition marks the first major survey of Hershman Leeson’s art and films. It includes early drawings and photographs, conceptual art, collage, montages, digital prints and her most recent interactive works using virtual beings with artificial intelligence.

Lynn Hershman Leeson - Seduction
Lynn Hershman Leeson, Seduction (1988), gelatin silver print [Henry Art Gallery, Seattle WA, Nov 5-Feb 5]

During the 1970s, Hershman Leeson created an alternate persona called Roberta Breitmore. The artist used Roberta to enact and document problematic social and cultural constructions around being a woman, while blurring the boundaries between a real and fictional existence. In the late 1970s, she began working with video and created one of the first interactive videodisk artworks, Lorna (1979-1983). Since that time, the interrelationship of people and techno-digital culture has been central to Hershman Leeson’s groundbreaking innovations. In the 1990s she began creating robotic artworks linked to the Internet. She produced the feature films Conceiving Ada (1997), a story about Ada Byron King (1815-52), the woman credited with writing the first computer programming language; and Teknolust (2002), an award-winning piece about a bio-geneticist who uses her own DNA to create self-replications. The character Ruby from this film also became Agent Ruby, Hershman Leeson’s provocative fusion of artificial intelligence and a web agent’s virtual persona.

Organized by the Henry Art Gallery, Hershmanlandia includes scheduled screenings of both Teknolust and Conceiving Ada, as well as, other select films and videos. The exhibition also coincides with the release of a major catalogue, the first critical monograph of the artist’s work, co-published with the University of California Press.


Allyn Cantor

 Wed, Nov 2, 2005