3rd 01SJ Biennial September 2010

A global festival of art on the edge

Life_n (Life to the Power of n)

Lifen ( Life to the power of n ) — or, life to the power of infinity — is a series of exhibitions highlighting the work of Lynn Hershman Leeson, which will take place throughout the Bay Area in 2008. Internationally recognized as one of the most influential among San Francisco-based media artists, Hershman Leeson has shaped the history of contemporary art in the Bay Area since the early 1970s. This collaborative survey of the artist’s past and current projects is a joint effort among local institutions and art collections; it will feature six presentations over the course of the year ( see calendar below ), individually organized by each participating venue but jointly promoted under the title of Lifen ( Life to the power of n ).

Lifen was initiated by SFMOMA and coordinated by Rudolf Frieling, the museum’s curator of media arts. The project is jointly organized by the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, the de Young Museum, The Hess Collection, New Langton Arts, SFMOMA, and 01SJ A Global Festival of Art on the Edge at the San Jose Museum of Art.

For more than three decades Hershman Leeson has worked in a variety of media, including performance, photography, video, installation, artificial intelligence and the internet, and feature film. Re-examining the artist’s pioneering contributions to contemporary art, Lifen revisits early site-specific installations and groundbreaking experiments in alternative art spaces. It also features new commissions. Common denominators among the individual presentations are the artist’s reconfiguration of historic and archival material, as well as her incorporation of user participation through new online platforms such as Second Life. Lifen proposes that there is not just one “real life” and one “virtual life,” but potentially endless manifestations of life and art that combine and mutate into hybrid forms of exhibition display, performance, online communities, interactive interfaces, user-generated content, and public screenings.

As they become available, exhibition materials from each project in Lifen will be digitally relocated to a site in Second Life ( URL to be announced ), which will eventually become the content and record for a “meta-archive,” facilitating deeper analysis, active investigation, and social exploration of the work. Updates on the project and Second Life access information will be posted at www.life-n.net. More information about Hershman Leeson can be found at the artist’s website: www.lynnhershman.com.

In conjunction with Lifen, a new monograph on the work of Hershman Leeson will be co-published by Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco, and bitforms gallery, New York, in partnership with The Hess Collection (release date and details to be announced).

CALENDAR OF EVENTS (in chronological order)

Lynn Hershman Leeson: No Body Special
de Young Museum
February 2-June 1, 2008
This exhibition uses a pantsuit by the house of Jean Patou (ca. 1965), drawn from the de Young’s extensive costume collection, to investigate the nexus of fashion, art, and display. Through reproductions of the museum’s pantsuit, worn by a variety of models (including one of the art world’s notorious Guerrilla Girls), the artist intervenes in the social construction of clothing design, marketing, and consumption. For more information, visit deyoungmuseum.org.