Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: Feminist Art Base: Jenny Holzer

Jenny Holzer

For thirty years, Jenny Holzer has presented her astringent ideas, arguments, and sorrows in public places and international exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale, the Reichstag, and the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao. Her medium, whether formulated as a T-shirt, as a plaque, or as an LED sign, is writing, and the public dimension is integral to the delivery of her work. Starting in the 1970s with the New York City posters, and up to her recent light projections on landscape and architecture, her practice has rivaled ignorance and violence with humor, kindness, and moral courage. Holzer received the Leone d’Oro at the Venice Biennale in 1990 and the Public Art Network Award in 2004. She holds honorary degrees from Ohio University, Williams College, the Rhode Island School of Design, and The New School. Holzer lives and works in New York.

SHRIEK WHEN THE PAIN HITS
DURING INTERROGATION. REACH
INTO THE DARK AGES TO FIND A
SOUND THAT IS LIQUID HORROR, A
SOUND OF THE BRINK WHERE MAN
STOPS AND THE BEAST AND
NAMELESS CRUEL FORCES BEGIN.
SCREAM WHEN YOUR LIFE IS
THREATENED. FORM A NOISE SO
TRUE THAT YOUR TORMENTOR
RECOGNIZES IT AS A VOICE THAT
LIVES IN HIS OWN THROAT. THE
TRUE SOUND TELLS HIM THAT HE
CUTS HIS FLESH WHEN HE CUTS
YOURS, THAT HE CANNOT THRIVE
AFTER HE TORTURES YOU. SCREAM
THAT HE DESTROYS ALL THE
KINDNESS IN YOU AND BLACKENS
EVERY VISION YOU COULD HAVE
SHOWN HIM.

DON’T TALK DOWN TO ME.
DON’T BE POLITE TO ME. DON’T
TRY TO MAKE ME FEEL NICE.
DON’T RELAX. I’LL CUT THE
SMILE OFF YOUR FACE. YOU
THINK I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S
GOING ON. YOU THINK I’M
AFRAID TO REACT. THE JOKE’S
ON YOU. I’M BIDING MY TIME,
LOOKING FOR THE SPOT. YOU
THINK NO ONE CAN REACH
YOU, NO ONE CAN HAVE WHAT
YOU HAVE. I’VE BEEN PLANNING
WHILE YOU’RE PLAYING. I’VE
BEEN SAVING WHILE YOU’RE
SPENDING. THE GAME IS ALMOST
OVER SO IT’S TIME YOU
ACKNOWLEDGE ME. DO YOU
WANT TO FALL NOT EVER
KNOWING WHO TOOK YOU?

Selections from the artist’s series Inflammatory Essays (1979-1982).

View Jenny Holzer's CV (PDF)

Images
Xenon for FlorenceInstallation for the GuggenheimFor the CityInflammatory EssaysInstallation for Neue NationalgalerieInstallation for Neue NationalgalerieXenon for Paris

Location
New York, New York
USA

Contact
gallery@cheimread.com

Text, images, audio, and/or video in the Feminist Art Base are copyrighted by the contributing artists unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.