It is often said that artists are visionaries who show us a path towards the future, but very few artists fit this description as well as Lynn Hershman Leeson.
A fearless pioneer whose performances were fueled by feminist indignation of the vulnerable position of women in American society, her work has been a harbinger of experiments in social practice, new media, interactive and net-based art decades before technology and digital culture would re-shape our experience of reality. Based in the Bay Area for her entire career, it has taken too long to bring attention to her complex practice.
Lynn Hershman Leeson: Civic Radar is the only presentation in the Americas of this acclaimed retrospective that provides an overview of the Bay Area artist’s revolutionary career from the 1960s to the present day. A pioneer of performance and conceptual art, Lynn Hershman Leeson has continually examined our relationship to technology. Her work reflects a fascination with the construction of identity and the use of media and technology as tools for empowerment against censorship and repression. Hershman Leeson has been, and continues to be, a strong voice in the feminist movement.
The presentation of Civic Radar at YBCA focuses on Hershman Leeson’s investigations of identity and the relationship between the viewer and various modes of surveillance, while also acknowledging her contributions to the field of performance and her commitment to socially engaged practices. The exhibition includes a significant portion of the long-term Roberta Breitmore performance project, along with many of her groundbreaking technological works, including Lorna (1984), Room of One’s Own (1993), and the film Teknolust (2002). Hershman Leeson’s recent work addresses the influence of digital culture on our most intimate selves, as well as the latest developments in regenerative medicine and genetics research, including 3D bioprinters that re-create human body parts. The exhibition will feature a new large-scale installation of Infinity Engine (2014), an interactive work first prototyped at YBCA in the 2013 exhibition Dissident Futures, that re-creates a functional genetics lab to generate infinite narratives about the future of the human species in the post–genetic engineering age.