Internationally renowned artist Lynn Hershman Leeson, UC Davis professor emeritus, is receiving major awards from the College Art Association and the Women’s Caucus for the Arts. She will receive the Distinguished Feminist Award --Visual Artist from the CAA in February and a lifetime achievement award from the Women’s Caucus.
Hershman Leeson has done groundbreaking work in video, film and photography that combines art with social commentary, particularly on the relationship between people and technology. She taught in the College of Letters and Science’s Technocultural Studies program (now known as Cinema and Digital Media) from 1993 to 2006.
Her five feature films are in worldwide distribution and have screened at the Sundance Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival and The Berlin International Film Festival and her work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Tate Modern and The National Gallery of Canada.
Two of her seminal works are "Roberta Breitmore," for which Hershman Leeson performed as a fictional person for five years, and "Deep Contact," which was pioneering in its use of touch screen and precursors to the DVD in the late 1980s.
In its announcement, the Women’s Caucus stated “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.”
She was recently commissioned by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco to create a multi-part installation "VertiGhost," being shown at the Legion of Honor Museum through March 25. It reinterprets Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 movie film "Vertigo," for which key scenes were shot at the museum. "VertiGhost" explores the tension at the core of the movie about notions of authenticity and the construction of identity.
Hershman Leeson and Claudia Schmuckli, curator-in-charge, contemporary art and programming, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, will take part in a discussion at the FOG: Design and Art Fair in San Francisco Jan. 11 at 4:30 p.m.
Her work is also currently being shown at Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, SITE Santa Fe in New Mexico and Artothek in Bonn, Germany, and will be shown this spring at the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow, Scotland, and the Tel-Aviv Museum in Israel.
— Jeffrey Day, content strategist in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science