Bridget Donahue | 99 Bowery
Bridget Donahue is pleased to present Remote Controls, the gallery’s second solo show by American artist and filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson. For the last five decades, Hershman Leeson has been a trailblazer in the use of new media and technologies, investigating issues of identity, gender-role, the double bind of voyeurism and surveillance, and what it means to be human in an increasingly cyber world and an era of bio- and genetic engineering. The exhibition features a broad selection of the artist’s pioneering interactive media works and videos from the 70s to the present, most of them never before shown in New York City.
Included in Remote Controls are the first interactive video disc, Lorna (1979-82), in which viewers use a remote control to navigate through the apartment of an agoraphobic woman, accessing her fears and dreams, personal history and future; and the sexual fantasy video disc, Deep Contact (1984), which first used touch-activated screens. The exhibition also features Home Front (1993-2011), a two-channel synchronized installation inside a dollhouse, exploring spaces of domestic confrontation and voyeuristic stances; and Synthia Stock Ticker (2000-2002), a networked sculpture charting the market in a real time via a video of behavioral mood swings. Hershman Leeson’s innovative work with genetic manipulation will be on display with her latest installation, Venus of the Anthropocene (2016), which captures viewers’ DNA patterns to create a mutating hybrid of mirrored identities.
Remote Controls also features the video Seduction of a Cyborg (1994), a poetic allegory about technology’s invasion of the body; The Complete Electronic Diaries (1986-1994), a 76-minute single-channel "video typed" confessional that records Hershman Leeson's struggle, transformation, and transcendence as her personal story unfolds before the camera; and several short video works. Also included in the exhibition are early drawings and wax sculptures, as well as collages from Water Women, an ongoing series which began as a metaphor for Roberta Breitmore, the persona created by the artist in 1974. These mixed media works capture ideas of disappearance, alchemical and atmospheric connection to air, water and electric currents, and ultimately the fragile nature of life itself.
Lynn Hershman Leeson (b. 1941), who was just awarded a 2016 United States Artists (USA) Fellowship, is also featured in the current Whitney Museum exhibition, Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905-2016 (until February 6, 2017), and her first comprehensive U.S. retrospective, Civic Radar – originally curated by ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany – will open at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on February 10, 2017.
Her work has been shown in over 200 large-scale exhibitions throughout the world and is featured in the public collections of the Museum of Modern Art (New York and San Francisco), Tate Modern and Modern Art Oxford (London), Lehmbruck Museum (Duisburg), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Whitworth Art Gallery (Manchester), and Berkeley Art Museum, in addition to celebrated private collections.
Hershman Leeson released the groundbreaking documentary !Women Art Revolution (!W.A.R., 2010), charting the history of the feminist art movement in America. It was screened at major museums internationally and received first prize at the 2012 Montreal Films on Art Festival. Among Hershman Leeson’s feature-length films are Strange Culture (2007), Conceiving Ada (1997), and Teknolust (2002) – all featuring actress Tilda Swinton. Leeson was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Prize for writing and directing Teknolust, and her films have screened at the Sundance, Berlin, and Toronto International Film Festivals. In her most recent works, Lynn Hershman Leeson includes robots, mass communication media such as smart- phones, as well as the latest scientific developments in the field of genetics and regenerative medicine including 3D bioprinters that create human body parts.
In 2016, Hatje Catz Verlag published Civic Radar, the first comprehensive monograph devoted to Hershman Leeson. Edited by Peter Weibel, this substantial publication includes articles and interviews with, among others, Peter Weibel, B. Ruby Rich, Tilda Swinton, Hou Hanru, and Laura Poitras.