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Lynn Hershman Leeson

© the artist

Year of birth, place

United States

Role at the ZKM

  • Artist of the Collection


Lynn Hershman's work comprises performances, photographs, videos and numerous interactive installations. In the seventies, she purposely avoided established art institutions and integrated her works in an everyday environment. Besides her artistic work, she wrote art criticisms under various pen names. She experimented with interactive technologies at a very early stage and used them to narrate non-linear film stories. Most of her works are concerned with the construction of identities, and injuries to them by other people or technical systems. She draws attention to the discrepancy between a person's sensitive inner world and his/her social role, and criticizes the influence of distorting stereotypes in the visual mass media. 

1958-59 Studied at the University of Ohio, Cleveland
1959-63 Studied Museum Management and Art at the Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, and the Cleveland Institute of Art, Ohio (Bachelor of Science, 1962)
1964 Studied at the University of California, Los Angeles
1970-72 Studied Art Criticism at San Francisco State University (Bachelor of Science)

Teaching/other activities
1971-73 Co-ed. of the art journal »Artweek« - art critic under various pen-names: Juris Prudence, Herbert Goode, Gay Abandon
1972-76 Associated Project Director for Christos »Running Pence«
1973-78 Manager of the Floating Museum, San Francisco
1984-89 Director of the Inter-Arts Center, San Francisco State University
since 1993 Appointed Senior Professor for Electronic and Digital Arts at the University of California, Davis

Awards (selection)
1990 Christal Trophy (First Prize) for »Longshot« (video) from the Centre International de Creation Vidéo, Montbéliard Belfort
1993 Distinction in the Interactive Art category for »Room of One's Own« from the Prix Ars Electronica, Linz
1995 Media Art Prize from the ZKM⎢Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe and the Siemens Kulturprogramm, Munich

Solo exhibitions (selection)
1966 »Adventure of a Line: Drawing Experiences by Lynn Lester Hershman«, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara
1972 »Lynn Hershman: Completed Fragments«, University Art Museum, University of California, Oakland
1973 Dante Hotel, San Francisco
1975 »Forming a Sculpture/Drama in Manhattan«, Chelsea Hotel/Plaza Hotel, New York
1978 »Lynn Hershman is not Roberta Breitmore, Roberta Breitmore is not Lynn Hershman«, The Fine Art Museum of San Francisco; M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco
1994 »Reaching Through the Screen: A Tribute to Lynn Hersman«, San Francisco
1995 »New Interactive Art« (retrospective), Center for Contemporary Art, Warsaw; »Bodies of Resistance«, Center for Contemporary Art, Warsaw

Group exhibitions (selection)
1977 »American Narrative/Story Art: 1976-77«, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston
1981 »Persona«, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York
1986 »Tecnologia e Informatica - XLII Esposizione Internationale d'Arte«, as part of the Biennale, Venice
1988 »ldentity: Representations of the Self«, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
1990 »Bay Area Media«, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco
1993 »Iterations: The New Image«, Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester; subsequently at the International Center of Photography, New York
1995/96 »Fotografie nach der Fotografie«, Aktionsforum Praterinsel, Munich; subsequently at the Kunsthalle Krems; Städtische Galerie Erlangen; Brandenburgische Kunstsammlungen, Cottbus; Museet for Fotokunst, Odense; Fotomuseum, Winterthur
1997 »Deep Storage - Arsenale der Erinnerung«, Haus der Kunst, Munich

»Room of One's Own #2«, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; »ROBERTA MULTIPLE #1«, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; »Paranoid Mirror«, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle; »ROBERTA MULTIPLE #2«, University Art Museum, Berkeley, California; »Phantom Limb 2 and 3«, Oakland Museum, Art Division, Oakland; »America's Finest #1, Room of One's Own #1«, Hess Collection, Napa; »Seeing is Believing«, The Museum of Modern Art, New York; »Longshot«, »The Electronic Diary« and other videos, National Film Institute, Copenhagen

Literature (selection)
"Roberta Breitmore: An Alchemical Portrait Begun in 1975", »La Mamelle Magazine: Art Contemporary«, No. 5, 1976; Rosler, Martha: "The Private and the Public - Feminist Art in California", »Artforum«, 1977; "The Floating Museum Phase I and Phase II", »La Mamelle Magazine: Art Contemporary«, No. 8, 1977; Hershman, Lynn: "Politics and Interactive Media Art", »Journal of Contemporary Studies", No. 8, 1985; Tamblyn, Christine: "Lynn Hershman's Narrative Anti-Narratives", »After Image«, 1986; Hershman, Lynn: "Die Fantasie außer Kontrolle", »Kunstforum International - Im Netz der Systeme«, Vol. 103, Cologne 1989; Dent, Tory: "First Person Plural: The Work of Lynn Hershman", »Arts Magazine«, November 1990; "Room's of One's Own. An electronic Peep Show", Druckey, Timothy: »Iterations: The new Image«, New York 1993; Hershman, Lynn: "Romantisierung des Antikörpers: Gier und Begehren im (Cyber)Space", Bechtloff, Dieter; Rötzer Florian (ed.): »Kunstforum International - Die Zukunft des Körpers I«, Vol. 132, Cologne 1995; Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum Duisburg (ed.): »InterAct! Schlüsselwerke interaktiver Kunst«, Ostfildern 1997



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