Each Wednesday through September, ARTnews will preview a short clip from the ninth season of Art21’s show Art in the Twenty-First Century, which will visit the Bay Area, Johannesburg, and Berlin.
In the preview for Art in the Twenty First Century‘s upcoming “San Francisco Bay Area” episode, the perspicacious multidisciplinary artist Lynn Hershman Leeson is seen painting red lips onto one of her drawings, the heading of which reads, “Do not Shoot.”
As Hershman Leeson lists off the numerous mediums she’s worked in over the years, snapshots of her creations flash into view, spanning painting, drawing, sculpture, digital media, film, and beyond. Though varying in presentation, a singular verve runs throughout her complex pieces. “I do work that confronts where we are in society,” she says.
While Hershman Leeson has received due attention in recent years, she recalls an era in which her work was routinely dismissed. “In the mid-1970s, maybe a little earlier, I had done a sculptural painting of a man,” she says. “And a collector went to a gallery and bought the work. I wanted to meet him, but the gallery didn’t want me to meet him because ‘Lynn’ could be either male or female. Somehow he found out I was female and he returned the work because he said that women weren’t good investments—women artists didn’t make a good investment. He was wrong.”
Season 9 of “Art in the Twenty-First Century” premieres September 21 at 9 p.m. on PBS. “San Francisco Bay Area” airs September 28 at 9 p.m.