The Association for Computing Machinery
Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession


Verostko and Hershman Leeson Cited for Using Computing to Create New Dimensions of Art

Virginia Gold
vgold (at)

Sara Appleyard
Widmeyer Communications
sara.appleyard (at)

NEW ORLEANS, July 28, 2009 - Recognizing the intersection of arts and computing, ACM SIGGRAPH, the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques, has named Roman Verostko and Lynn Hershman Leeson as recipients of its first Distinguished Artist Awards for Lifetime Achievement in Digital Art. Verostko's innovative work integrates his own procedural computer codes with his fine arts practice, which is informed by diverse cultural traditions. Hershman Leeson pioneered new modes of storytelling through the visual media of photography, video, film, and interactive installations, employing both the Internet and artificial intelligence. The award, which recognizes the important contributions of practicing digital artists in this evolving field, will be presented at the 2009 SIGGRAPH conference on August 3, in New Orleans, LA.

Images of the work of both artists are available here on request to the above contacts.

The wide diversity of artistic computer graphics applications prompted the jury to select two artists for the initial year of this award. "The dual award serves to emphasize that artists with significantly different approaches in their use of technology have pushed the frontiers of the field of computer graphics, interactive techniques, and new media production," said Cynthia Beth Rubin, Chair of the ACM SIGGRAPH Arts Awards Committee.

Roman Verostko, Professor Emeritus at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, was honored for his groundbreaking contributions to the creation and promotion of digital art. Fusing his knowledge of computer programming to a long engagement with diverse cultural and philosophical traditions, Verostko began exhibiting digital imaging in the late 1960s. By 1987, he created the world's first software driven "brushed" paintings with oriental brushes mounted on his pen plotter. Today his Minneapolis studio includes a network of computers coupled to pen plotters driven with his original software, and it represents a monument to the aesthetic power of algorithmic art.

Verostko received the Golden Plotter First Prize in 1994. A past board member of the Inter-Society for Electronic Art, and Program Director for the 4th International Symposium on Electronic Art, he has published articles and lectured internationally on the subject of Art and Algorithm. His work has been shown in art and technology exhibitions on four continents including Genetic Art & Artificial Life in Linz, Austria (1993) and the ARTEC’95 Biennial in Nagoya, Japan. His work and writings

Lynn Hershman Leeson, Chair of the San Francisco Art Institute Film Department, was recognized for her paradigm-changing innovations in a broad range of applications. Her three feature films have been shown at the Sundance Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival. Her work, which features a strong aesthetic quality as well as cultural insights, intertwines fantasy and cultural commentary into new formats. These skills have enabled her achievements to serve as an example of how new technology can be applied to provocative social issues while exploring new artistic sensibilities.

Hershman Leeson is Professor Emeritus at the University of California Davis and a professor-at-large at Cornell University. She is a recipient of the 2009 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. Her work is featured in the public collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the National Gallery of Canada as well as several private collections. Commissions include projects for the Tate Modern, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Charles Schwab. Further information on her art and films

The ACM SIGGRAPH Distinguished Artist Award is presented annually to an artist who has created a substantial and important body of work that significantly advances aesthetic content in the field of digital art. Nominations for the 2010 award are accepted until November 1, at ACM SIGGRAPH Awards.

The ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques is an interdisciplinary community interested in research, technology, and applications in computer graphics and interactive techniques. Members include researchers, developers and users from the technical, academic, business, and art communities. SIGGRAPH provides information to the computer graphics community through its annual conference, publications and the SIGGRAPH Video Review.

About ACM
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world's largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field's challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession's collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.