Lynn Hershman, Commercials for „Forming a Sculpture Drama in Manhattan“, 1974
Lynn Hershman
Commercials for „Forming a Sculpture Drama in Manhattan“

Lynn Hershman’s work comprises photography, video, film and installation. She also is a pioneer of computer art. She studied art with a major in art criticism at San Francisco State University. Her works explore the construction of identity in private and public spaces and the interaction between reality and fiction. From 1970 to 1979, she created Roberta Breitmore, a fictional character, which she portrayed along with four other actresses. Roberta had her own life: She got a driver’s license and opened a bank account. In 1995, Hershman received the Siemens Media Art Prize from the ZKM Karlsruhe. She also received the Golden Nica at the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz in 1999. She has made feature films, including Teknolust (2002) and Strange Culture (2007) or Tania Libre (2017), as well as a documentary film on feminist art called !Women Art Revolution (2012). MM

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In five TV commercials, men and women of different racial backgrounds explain that they are Lynn Hershman. The commercials were advertisements for Hershman’s site-specific work Forming a Sculpture Drama in Manhattan. For this piece, the identities of three fictional women were reconstructed through personal traces, objects, smells and sounds in three hotel rooms: one in the Chelsea Hotel, one in the Plaza and one in the Central YWCA in New York. During the installation (October–November 1974), these rooms were accessible to viewers 24 hours a day. This project was an extension of Hershman’s concept of living environments that goes back to her work Dante Hotel (see HER 1). The American television station ABC broadcast the commercials in New York in October 1974.

Courtesy Lynn Hershman

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