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New Documentary by Lynn Hershman Leeson Explores the Feminist Art Movement
Feminist Studio Workshop in 1973, as seen in !WOMEN ART REVOLUTION, a film by Lynn Hershman Leeson. A Zeitgeist Film release. Photo courtesy of Sheila Levrant de Bretteville Archives.
NEW YORK, NY.- Artist and filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leesonʼs documentary is more than four decades in the making. !Women Art Revolution (!W.A.R.) draws from hundreds of hours of in-the moment interviews with her contemporaries—visionary artists, historians, curators and critics—to present an intimate portrayal of their fight to break down barriers facing women both in the art world and society at large. The film features an original score composed by Carrie Brownstein, formerly of the band Sleater-Kinney. In conjunction with the film, legendary artist Spain has illustrated a 100-page graphic novel depicting selected highlights of the !WAR history; the graphic novel includes a 57-page curriculum guide to accompany the film.

In the 1960s, the Feminist Art Movement emerged to politicize female artists and challenge complexities of gender, race, class and sexuality. Through interviews with her colleagues, Hershman Leeson—a pioneering, award-winning multimedia artist herself—traces the history of the movement from its relationship to the anti-war and civil rights forces of the 1960s, through its groundbreaking contributions to womenʼs art of the 1970s, to the emergence of The Guerilla Girls, who became the conscience of the art world and held galleries and museums accountable for discrimination. Ultimately, Hershman Leeson and her collaborators would become part of what many historians now claim is the most significant art movement of the late 20th century.

Hershman Leeson says of the film, “In 1966, I borrowed a camera, figured out how to use it and shot people coming through my living room in Berkeley. Then I forgot about all that footage and it was stored in boxes in my studio until I found it in 2004. I felt it had become even more relevant and it was a personal imperative that I complete the project! I felt a tremendous responsibility to find the story inside that raw footage and to honor the women who struggled to invent themselves and who introduced the concepts of social protest, collaboration and public art that addressed directly the political imperatives of social justice and civil rights. This film took 42 years and it needed all that time to find the optimistic and uncompromising legacy.”

!Women Art Revolution is written, directed, produced and edited by Lynn Hershman Leeson. The film is executive produced by Sarah Peter, produced by Kyle Stephan and Alexandra Chowaniec and co-produced by Carla Sacks. !Women Art Revolution is a Hotwire Production in association with Chicken and Egg Pictures, Creative Capital and Impact Partners.

Lynn Hershman Leeson pioneered site-specific, performance and interactive media. Most recently, she was honored by the Digital Art Museum in Berlin with the d.velop digital art award (d.daa), the most distinguished honor for lifetime achievement in the field of new media. Her other honors include the prestigious Golden Nica Prix Ars Electronica, the ZKM/Seimens Media Arts Award and, as a Sundance Screenwriter Fellow, she was honored with the Flintridge Foundation Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts. She has also received The Alfred P. Sloan Film Prize for writing and directing Teknolust; and in 2006, the International Association of Digital Arts award for “innovative storytelling”; the Zero One Prize for “Media that Matters”; and a Creative Capital Grant for her documentary !Women Art Revolution. In 2009, she became a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Siggraph. Hershman Leeson wrote, directed and produced the feature films Teknolust, Conceiving Ada and Strange Culture (all starring Oscar-winner ), in addition to 14 other films and shorts. Her films have been shown at the Sundance Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival; and were all
internationally distributed. Her artwork is held in numerous collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in (New York), The National Gallery of Canada, DG Bank (Frankfurt) and The Walker Art Center (Minneapolis). She has published extensively, is the Chair of the Film Department at the San Francisco Art Institute and Emeritus Professor at the University of California. Hershman Leeson is represented by Paule Anglim Gallery in San Francisco and Bitforms Gallery in New York.

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