Operating at the confluence of technology and visual arts, Lynn Hershman Leeson’s practice has been heralded as pioneering. Much of her work is a product of second-wave feminism that came about in the 1960s, at a time where the artist herself was a twenty-year-old in San Francisco. In this small retrospective at Bridget Donahue, Hershman Leeson’s installations strike a depressing chord: forty years later, we’re still fighting against the same shit. The medium’s obsolescence further underscores that message.
Here, and throughout her trajectory, the viewer is both a witness and an enabler. Take Lorna (1979 – 84)—one of the first interactive artworks on video disc—in which we are invited to watch, and control, the world of a “typical” (i.e. white) American woman of the 1980s. Lorna represents all that we’d been told is feminine at the time, taken to tacky extremes. Her living room walls are red and teal, her armchairs leopard print.