Lynn Hershman Leeson: ‘Origins of the Species’
Exhibition Review
Mar 26, 2015
The New York Times
Holland Cotter

The micro-survey of Lynn Hershman Leeson’s art at the new Bridget Donahue Gallery is a tip-of-the-iceberg event with the potential force of a stealth explosive. Ms. Hershman Leeson began her career in the San Francisco Bay Area in the culturally roiling early 1960s. Like many young artists then, she identified as a painter, but one with multimedia extensions and futuristic ambitions. Almost from the start she was also working in sculpture that had a cyborglike dimension. The small assemblage in the show called “Breathing Machine II” (1968/2011), consisting of a wax face obscured by a wig, butterflies and feathers, sighs and coughs when you draw near.

Before Cindy Sherman was creating fictional histories for the camera, Ms. Hershman Leeson was living one, that of an alter ego named Roberta Breitmore, a 30-something divorced woman with an apartment of her own, a therapist and a troubled past…