“Science Truth” and Fearless Freedoms in Lynn Hershman Leesons Civic Radar
Exhibition Review
May 12, 2017
Wendy Vogel

The majority of Leeson’s sprawling oeuvre has never been exhibited until now. Seen all at once, Civic Radar proves the insufficiency of the ready story of her technological innovation. It’s true that occasionally she reached so far ahead of her time as to be aesthetically incomprehensible. But she paired her forward thinking with an emotional depth and commitment to unearthing the taboos of female experience. The strength of Leeson’s practice comes from its fearlessness in the face of risk – from her earliest self-destructing Suicide Machines sculptures (1962–68) to her forays into cutting-edge media techniques and scientific research. At age 75, the later part of Leeson’s artistic story is more hopeful than the tragicomedy of her various heroines. It also presents a challenge to my generation of cultural producers, to use the networked technology at our disposal to more feminist, collaborative ends. To notice the weight of new callouses, and how they developed…