Leslie Thornton is recognized as a pioneer of contemporary media aesthetics. She is a Guggenheim Fellow, the recipient of several Rockefeller Fellowships, and will be an Artist in Residence at CERN in 2018. Thornton has been honored with the Maya Deren Award for Lifetime Achievement, and was a recipient of the first Albert Award in Media.
She has had retrospectives at MoMA, FemCine in Chile, Anthology Film Archives and BAM. Her work has been exhibited at dOCUMENTA, PS1, Centre Pompidou, the Whitney Biennial, Winkleman Gallery, Raven Row and Rodeo Galleries in London, and in the New York Film Festival, the Buenos Aires, Ambulante, Oberhausen, and Rotterdam International Film Festivals. She is in the permanent collections of Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Centre Pompidou, MoMA, the Pacific Film Archives, the Walker Art Center, and Jeu de paume.