YBCA presents a conversation with artist Lynn Hershman Leeson and filmmaker, artist, and writer Eleanor Coppola, moderated by art historian, critic, and curator Amelia Jones, that brings focus to Hershman Leeson’s early pioneering works of radical social performances and activism of the 1960s–1980s.
This intimate dialogue—with an emphasis on Roberta Breitmore (1973–78) and Hershman Leeson’s early social practice—will also cover Hershman Leeson and Coppola’s collaborative work, The Dante Hotel (1973–74), an almost year-long project from which Hershman Leeson’s Roberta Breitmore performance evolved. The Dante Hotel invited the public to imagine the life of fictitious individuals through personal and other objects left behind in a hotel room. Hershman Leeson and Coppola also collaborated on RE: Forming Familiar Environments (1975), which took place in Coppola’s home.
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Lynn Hershman Leeson
Over the last five decades, artist and filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson has received international acclaim for her art and films. She is 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 is considered one of the most influential media artists and has made pioneering contributions in photography, video, film, performance, installation, and interactive as well as net-based media art.
Her activist films on injustice within the art world and society at large have been praised worldwide. !Women Art Revolution! won first prize in the Montreal Festival for Films on Art and was hailed by the Museum of Modern Art as one of the three best documentaries of 2012. Holland Cotter of the New York Times called it “the most comprehensive documentary ever made on the feminist art movement.” Her 2009 film Strange Culture—which the New York Times deemed “the perfect balance of form and content” and The Nation called “a brilliant and moving examination of fear and its manipulation”—resulted in the release of an artist facing a prison sentence of 23 years.
Eleanor Coppola is a filmmaker, artist, and writer best known for her critically acclaimed, Emmy-award-winning documentary, Hearts of Darkness: A Film Maker’s Apocalypse (1991). Coppola has directed a number of documentaries, many of which offer a view into the making of films directed by Coppola’s family members, including her husband, Francis Ford Coppola, and her daughter, Sofia Coppola. She is also a practicing visual artist whose diverse range of work–paintings, sculpture, photography, and short films, among other media–has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide, including Eleanor Coppola: Quiet Creative Force, a retrospective of her work, held at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art in 2014. In 1974, Coppola collaborated with Lynn Hershman Leeson on The Dante Hotel, a seminal work that would later inspire Hershman Leeson’s Roberta Breitmore project and Coppola’s own investigation of artistic intervention in the everyday. They also collaborated on RE: Forming Familiar Environments (1975), which took place in Coppola’s home.
Amelia Jones is Robert A. Day Professor in Art and Design and Vice-Dean of Critical Studies at the Roski School of Art and Design at University of Southern California. A curator and theorist and historian of art and performance, her recent publications include Perform Repeat Record: Live Art in History (2012), co-edited with Adrian Heathfield, a single authored book Seeing Differently: A History and Theory of Identification and the Visual Arts (2012), the edited volume Sexuality (2014), and, co-edited with Erin Silver, Otherwise: Imagining Queer Feminist Art Histories (2016). Her exhibition Material Traces: Time and the Gesture in Contemporary Art took place in 2013 in Montreal, as did the event Trans-Montréal (Performance Studies International, 2015). Live Artists Live took place at USC in 2016. The latter two events included performances and lectures. Her edited special issue of Performance Research entitled “On Trans/Performance” was published in October 2016.
Lynn Hershman Leeson: Civic Radar is curated by Peter Weibel and Andreas Beitin, and organized by ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe. The presentation at YBCA is organized by Lucía Sanromán, Director of Visual Arts, YBCA.
YBCA Exhibitions 2016–2017 are made possible, in part, by: Mike Wilkins and Sheila Duignan, Meridee Moore and Kevin King, and the Creative Ventures Council.
YBCA Programs 2016-2017 are made possible, in part, by: The James Irvine Foundation.
Additional Funding for YBCA Programs 2016–2017: National Endowment for the Arts, Adobe, Abundance Foundation, Gaia Fund, Grosvenor, and members of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Free First Tuesdays underwritten by Directors Forum Members.
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is grateful to the City of San Francisco for its ongoing support.
Lead Image: Roberta’s Construction Chart 1, 1975, archival digital print and dye transfer. Courtesy Lynn Hershman Leeson represented by Anglim Gilbert Gallery, San Francisco; Waldburger Wouters Gallery, Brussels; Bridget Donahue Gallery, New York City; Vilma Gold Gallery, London.