Lynn Hershman Leeson, Stills from VertiGhost (detail), 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Anglim Gilbert Gallery, San Francisco

Lynn Hershman Leeson: VertiGhost

VertiGhost, a newly commissioned work by Lynn Hershman Leeson (American, b. 1941) for the Fine Arts Museums, draws the viewer into a meditation about notions of authenticity and the construction of identity. Inspired by the Legion of Honor’s role as a location for Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958), Hershman Leeson explores the tension between the pursuit of truth versus the difficulty or lack of desire to distinguish between reality and fiction.

The film at the core of Hershman Leeson’s VertiGhost project features the re-creation of select scenes from Vertigo, documentation of a painting by Amedeo Modigliani in the Museums’ collection that was enshrouded by questions of authenticity, as well as interviews about the construction of realities in life and art. The project also consists of an installation at both museum buildings and a web component that incorporates live footage of viewers from the Legion of Honor by digitally inserting and implicating them into the narrative.

In the news

  • Spooky in how precise it is.

    Sam Whiting of the San Francisco Chronicle,
  • Lynn Hershman Leeson’s intriguing installation and film, interweaves the stories of two paintings inextricably linked with FAMSF's collection.

    Sura Wood of The Bay Area Reporter,


This exhibition is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s Contemporary Arts Program is made possible by Presenting Sponsor the Lisa & Douglas Goldman Fund.

Major support is provided by Nion McEvoy and Leslie Berriman and The Paul L. Wattis Foundation. Significant support is provided by Frances F. Bowes. Additional support is provided by Kate Harbin Clammer and Adam Clammer, Jessica and Jason Moment, Katie Schwab Paige and Matt Paige, David and Roxanne Soward, Joachim and Nancy Hellman Bechtle, Jeffrey N. Dauber and Marc A. Levin, Shaari Ergas, Laurent Fischer and Jason Joseph Anthony, Kaitlyn and Mike Krieger, Lore Harp McGovern, Rotasa Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Schwab, Gwynned Vitello, Vance Wall Foundation, Anonymous, and the Contemporary Support Council of the Fine Arts Museums.

Currently on view