ABOUT JENNY HOLZER
For more than forty years, Jenny Holzer has presented her astringent ideas, arguments, and sorrows in public places and international exhibitions. Her medium, whether formulated as a T-shirt, a plaque, or 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 continuing through her recent light projections on landscape and architecture, her practice has rivaled ignorance and violence with humor, kindness, and courage.
Essential to Holzer’s practice is her commitment to exposing injustice and inviting debate. Her first series of text, Truisms (1977–79), initially appeared as anonymous posters wheat-pasted to buildings, walls and fences around Manhattan. Displaying phrases such as, “A little knowledge goes a long way,” and “Your oldest fears are the worst ones,” Truisms expressed a wide spectrum of biases and beliefs. Over the last decade, Holzer’s practice has more directly engaged US government policy. In 2007 she debuted a series of oil-on-linen transcriptions featuring an Iraqi national’s first-person accounts of torture from the conflict there. Light the Fight (2018) included a convoy of trucks with LED screens displaying text from poets, activists, artists and educators as a mobile intervention addressing the historic and ongoing battle against AIDS.
Holzer’s works are held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, among others. In 1990, Holzer was the first woman to represent the United States with a solo show in the Venice Biennale. She currently lives and works in New York.
Portrait of Jenny Holzer by Nanda Lanfranco.