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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Jenny Holzer

New York, NY
USA

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.

Feminist Artist Statement

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).

<p>Xenon for Florence</p>

Xenon for Florence

Arno River & Palazzo Bargagli, Florence;
© 2007 Jenny Holzer, member Artist Rights Society, (ARS), NY;
Text: Arno (1996);
Photo: Attilio Maranzano.

Xenon for Florence

Arno River & Palazzo Bargagli, Florence;
© 2007 Jenny Holzer, member Artist Rights Society, (ARS), NY;
Text: Arno (1996);
Photo: Attilio Maranzano.

Installation for the Guggenheim

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York;
Text: Selections from Truisms (1977-79), Inflammatory Essays (1979-82), Living (1980-82), Survival (1983-85), Under a Rock (1986), Laments (1989), Mother and Child (1990);
© 2007 Jenny Holzer, member Artist Rights Society (ARS), NY;
Photo: David Heald.

For the City

The Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, New York University;
Presented by Creative Time;
© 2007 Jenny Holzer, member Artist Rights Society (ARS), NY;
Photo: Attilio Maranzano;
Text: U.S. Government Document.

Inflammatory Essays

© 2007 Jenny Holzer, member Artist Rights Society (ARS), NY;
Text: Inflammatory Essays (1979-1982);
Photo: Mindy McDaniel.

Installation for Neue Nationalgalerie

Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin;
© 2007 Jenny Holzer, member Artist Rights Society (ARS), NY;
Text: Selections from Truisms (1977-79), Inflammatory Essays (1979-82), Living (1980-82), Survival (1983-85), Under a Rock (1986), Laments (1989), Mother and Child (1990), War (1992), Lustmord (1993-95), Erlauf (1995), Arno (1996), Blue (1998), Oh (2001);
Photo: Attilio Maranzano.

Installation for Neue Nationalgalerie

Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin;
© 2007 Jenny Holzer, member Artist Rights Society (ARS), NY;
Text: Selections from Truisms (1977-79), Inflammatory Essays (1979-82), Living (1980-82), Survival (1983-85), Under a Rock (1986), Laments (1989), Mother and Child (1990), War (1992), Lustmord (1993-95), Erlauf (1995), Arno (1996), Blue (1998), Oh (2001);
Photo: Attilio Maranzano.

Xenon for Paris

Pyramide du Louvre, Paris;
© 2007 Jenny Holzer, member Artist Rights Society (ARS), NY;
Text: Truisms (1977-79);
Photo: Attilio Maranzano.

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USA

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