Jesse Lerner, Professor of Media Studies

Jesse Lerner

Professor of Media Studies

With Pitzer Since: 1998
Field Group: Media Studies
Campus Address: Scott Hall 208
Phone: 909.607.2636
Email: [email protected]
Office Hours: See Faculty Directory

Educational Background

PhD, Claremont Graduate University
MA, University of Southern California
BA, University of California, Los Angeles

Selected Publications

“Prólogo,” in Cine politico en México, 1968-2017, ed. by Adriana Estrada Álvarez, Nicolas Défosé, and Diego Zavala Scherer (New York: Peter Lang).

“Cinema and the Mexico City of 1968,” in Architectures of Revolt: The Cinematic City circa 1968 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press).

“Resignations of Pre-Hispanic Art/Resignificationes del arte prehispanico,” in Rita Eder, ed., Defying Stability: Artistic Process in Mexico/Desafio a la Estabilidad: Procesos Artisticos en Mexico, 1952-1967, Mexico City, Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, March 2014.

“The Proletarian Camera: Hector Garcia and the Reconfiguring of the Mexican Street, in Erica Segre, ed., Ghosts of the Revolution in Mexican Literature and Visual Culture, Oxford, UK: Peter Lang, 2013.

“Exoticism,” in Sina Najafi, ed., Curiousity and Method. Brookly, NY: Cabinet 2012.

A Camera in One Hand and a Rock in the Other: Latin American Film and Social Confrontation,” in Gerardo Mosquera, ed., crisisss … América Latina, Arte y Confrontación, 1910–2010. Mexico City, Mexico: Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, 2012.

“Nacho López, Cineasta,” in José Antonio Rodríguez and Alberto Tovalín Ahumada, eds.,  Nacho López, Ideas y Visualidad. Mexico City, Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2012.

“Borderline Archeology,” in Fiamma Montezemolo and Josh Kun, eds., Tijuana Dreaming: Life  and Art at the Global Border. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012.

“Dante Cerano’s Día Dos: Sex, Kinship and Videotape,” in Ming-Yuen S. Ma and Erika  Sudernburg, eds. Resolutions 3: Global Networks of Video. Minneapolis, MN: University  of Minnesota Press, 2012.

“Exiles at Home,” in Ruben Ortiz Torres and Jesse Lerner, eds., Mex/LA: “Mexican Modernism(s) in Los Angeles, 1930-1985. Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz, 2011.

“Asco’s Super-8 Cinema and the Specter of Muralism” in C. Ondine Chavoya and RitaGonzalez, eds. Asco: Elite of the Obscure. Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles County Museum of Art/Williams College Museum of Art/Hatje Cantz, 2011.

“The Ruins of Modernity,” in Josef Raab, Sebastian Thies and Daniela Noll-Opitz, eds. Screening the Americas: Narration of Nation in Documentary Film. Trier, Germany: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag, 2011, Light Industries, Brooklyn, NY (2017); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2016).

“Cámera Obrera: Hector García y la Calle Mexicana,” in Claudia Arroyo Quiroz, James Ramey and Michael Schuessler, eds. México Imaginado: Nuevos Enfoques sobre el Cine (Trans)nacional. México, D.F.: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, 2011.

“Los Mayas Indolentes,” in Magali Arriola and Pablo León de la Barra, eds. Incidentes de Viaje Espejo en Yucatán y Otros Lugares. México D.F.: Museo Rufina Tamayo, 2011.

“Cine Povera,” Ready Media: Arqueología de medios y la invención en México, (2010).

ed., with Luciano Piazza, Ism, Ism, Ism: Experimental Cinema in Latin America. Oakland: UC Press, 2017.

with Leandro Katz, The Catherwood Project: Incidents of Visual Reconstruction and other Matters.  Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2017.

ed., with Rubén Ortiz Torres, How To Read el Pato Pascual: Disney’s Latin American and Latin America’s Walt Disney. London: Black Dog, 2017.

Selected Conference Presentations, Invited Talks and Public Commentary

Latin American Studies Association annual meetings (2019).

MesAmérica, Million Dollar Theater, Los Angeles, CA (2019).

Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City (Simposio Internacional de Teoria de Arte Contemporaneo, 2019).

University of California Irvine, (Latin American Studies, 2019).

Centro Cultural de España, Montevideo (2018).

Cineteca Nacional de Chile, Centro Cultural la Moneda, Santiago de Chile (VIII Encuentro Internacional de Investigación sobre Cine Chileno y Latinoamericano, 2018).

College Art Association annual meetings (2018).

Coloquio Académico sobre Representación Cinematográficas, Morelia, Michoacán (2018).

Instituto Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes, Montevideo (2018).

Princeton University (Program in Latin American Studies, 2018).

Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey (2018).

“Narco-Capitalism,” presentation at the Berlin Documentary Forum, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany, June 2014. With Sylvere Lotringer and Sergio González Rodriguez.

Professor Lerner and his documentary La Piedra Ausente were featured in “Narran historia de un despojo,”  Reforma, March 13, 2014.

Professor Lerner and La Piedra Ausente were featured in “El mítico viaje de Tláloc,” Milenio, January 12, 2014.

Professor Lerner was interviewed about La Piedra Ausente for La Jornada, January 3, 2014.

Guest lecture, Visiting Artists and Scholars Lecture Series, Art and Art History Department, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, February 2014.

“The Absent Stone,” invited talk, Institute of the Americas, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA, March 12, 2013.

Professor Lerner’s documentary The Absent Stone, received extensive coverage in the Mexican press. Previous works were discussed in academic texts such as “Curatorial Designs in the Poetics and Politics of Ethnography Today: A Conversation between Tarek Elhaik and George E. Marcus,” Íconos, 42 (2012) and “Audiovisual Experimental Contemporáneo en México,” in Ready Media: Hacia una Arqueología de los Medios y la Invención en México (Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, 2012).

“The Narco-aesthetic,” paper presented at Visible Evidence XIX Conference, the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, December 2012.

“Modernismos ‘Mexicanos’ en el Sur de California,” paper presented at the III Encuentro de Investigadores de Cine, Bogotá, Colombia, November 2012.

“Resignificaciones de Arte Prehispanico,” paper presented at Geneologías de Arte Contemporaneo, Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico, August 2012.

“Documenting Death,” paper presented at the Visible Evidence XVIII Conference, New York University, New York, NY, August 2011.

“Conferencia Magistral,” artist’s talk at the Centro de Capacitacion Cinematografica, Mexico City, Mexico, October, 2011.

“La Piedra Ausente,” artist’s talk at the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico, October 2011.

“Experimental Ethnographic Filmmaking,” artist’s talk at the Technocultural Studies Department, University of California Davis, Davis, CA, November 2011.

“The Maya of Modernism,” author’s talk at Artists’ Television Access, San Francisco, CA, November 2011.

“Asco: Chicano Cinema,” author’s talk at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA, November 11, 2011.

“Mex/LA” panel, September 2011, and “Mex/LA Photography and Film,” two curatorial talks at the Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA, January 2012.

“Cine Radical: Diálogos entre Japón y México,” paper presented at the Festival Internacional de Cine de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico, February 2012.

“Photography in Mexico,” panelist, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA, April 2012.

“Archeological (In)authenticity,” paper presented at the Current Issues in Authenticity Conference, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, January 2012.

“The Shock of Modernity,” paper presented at Ghosts of the Mexican Revolution conference. Trinity College, Cambridge, England, February 26, 2010.

“Documentary and its Double,” paper presented at Ambulante, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Puebla, Mexico, March 8, 2010.

Artists’ talk, Center for Visual Anthropology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, January 29, 2010.

Selected Exhibitions, Film and Video

Co-curator, with Luciano Piazza, Two or Three Things I Know about Latin America. Arsenal, Berlin. 2019

Co-curator, with Luciano Piazza, Ism Ism Ism: Experimental Film in Latin America. For Los Angeles Filmforum.  Presented at the RedCat Theater, Hammer Museum/Billy Wilder Theater, Egyptian Theater, Luckman Art Gallery at California State University Los Angeles, and Museum Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and University Art Museum at California State University Long Beach.
Selections toured to: Pacific Film Archives, Berkeley; Brooklyn Museum, New York;
Centro Cultural España, Montevideo; Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, Argentina; Faro Aragón, Mexico City; MUTA Muestra Internacional de Apropiación Audiovisual, Lima, Perú; CinEuropa, Santiago de Compostela, Spain; Anthology Film Archives, New York; and Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Festival Vartex, Medellín, Colombia; Museo de Arte Moderno, Medellín, Colombia; Lightbox Film Center, Philadelphia. 2017-2019

Two Very Short Films about Maya Revival Architecture was part of the In Motion: Borders and Migration, exhibition at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City, UT, May-September 2014.

Spanish Caprice, Junipero Serra and the Legacies of the California Missions exhibition, Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA, August 2013-January 2014.

Professor Lerner and co-director Sandra Rozental’s documentary La Piedra Ausente (The Absent Stone) had a semi-theatrical run in Mexico City in winter 2013 and screened at locations throughout Mexico and around the world, including BV d’historia de la Ciencia, Tecnica i Medicina, Barcelona, Spain, April 2014; National Anthropology Museum, Mexico, DF, April 2014; and Instituto Cultural Mexicano, Copenhagen, Denmark, March 2014. As part of Encuentro Mundial de Cine, La Piedra Ausente screened in California, Colorado, New York and Texas as well as in Argentina, Mexico and Peru. La Piedra Ausente also played at dozens of international film festivals.

Curator, Orfanato Cinemátographico, an eight-part program from Asco: Elite de lo Oscuro at the Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, May 5–June 23, 2013. A shortened version of the program was shown in the UK as Asco: Your Art Disgusts Me, South London Gallery, London, UK, April 4 and 11, 2013.

Co-curator, XV Bienal de Fotografía, Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City, Mexico, March–April 2013. With Yolanda Andrade and Marcela Quiroz.

Co-curator, documentary section and curator of the Cine sin Fronteras section, Festival Internacional de Cine de Morelia, Mexico City, Mexico, November 2012. With Daniela Alatorre.

The Absent Stone premiered January 2013 at Cineteca Nacional, Mexico City, and subsequently toured 14 cities in Mexico as part of the Ambulante documentary film program (February 8-May 7, 2013). Additional screenings include the Museo de Historia Mexicana, Monterrey, Mexico and TEOR/éTica, San José, Costa Rica. T.S.H., “Technology is History,” Guggenheim Museum, New York (2018); “Ladrón que roba a Landrón,” Festival de Cine Puy ta Cuxlejaltic, Oventic, Chiapas (2018); “If You Can Screen it There,” Anthology Film Archives, New York (2018); SOMA, Mexico City (2018). and Magnavoz screened at the Cinemateca Distrital de Bogotá, Colombia. Frontierland screened as part of the exhibition The Very Large Array at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. Atomic Sublime screened in the Athens International Film Festival.“Strangloscope,” Florianópolis, Brazil (2018); Reencuentros al Margen, Casa del Hijo del Ahuizote, Mexico City (2018); “Voyage to the Land of Speaking Blood,” Velaslavasay Panorama, Los Angeles (2018); “Pirámides: Montañas sagradas,” Museo Regional de Antropología Palacio Cantón, Mérida, Yucatán (2018).

Co-curator of the documentary section for Festival Internacional de Cine de Morelia, Morelia, Mexico, October 2011.

Associate curator, Mex/LA: “Mexican” Modernism(s) in Los Angeles, 1930-1985, Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA. Selected films from this exhibition were presented at the San Francisco Media Archive, November 4, 2011.

Guest curator, Cinema Povera, RedCat Theater, Los Angeles, CA, May 7, 2012.

Contributor to Mariana Castillo Deball, Never Odd or Even (Berlin: Bom Dia Boa Tarde Boa Noche, 2011), at the Grimmuseum, Berlin, Germany, October 1-November 20, 2011.

“Atomic Sublime,” 2010. Premiered at Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles.

Curator: “Cine Povera” shown at the Images Film Festival, Toronto, Canada and the Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City, Mexico, 2010.

Selected Grants, Awards and Honors

Production grant, Graham Foundation, (for These Fragmentations Only Mean …). 2019

Artist’s residency, Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA (for These Fragmentations Only Mean …). 2019

Won the jury award for the documentary La Piedra Ausente (The Absent Stone) at the Ann Arbor Film Festival,  Ann Arbor, MI, March 2014. With co-director Sandra Rozental.

Won the Premio Zapata award for the documentary La Piedra Ausente at the Festival de la Memoria Documental Iberoamericano, Cuernavaca, Mexico, November 2013. With co-director Sandra Rozental.

Awarded a Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA grant by The Getty Foundation for his project LA Collects LA. With Ruben Ortiz Torres and Karen Rapp. 2014-15.

Awarded a Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA grant by The Getty Foundation for his project How To Read el Pato Pascual: Disney’s Latin America and Latin America’s Disney. 2014-15.

Recipient of City of Los Angeles (COLA) Award, Department of Cultural Affairs, Los Angeles, CA. (2009-10)

Additional Information

Personal Website

Page last updated on December 4, 2023