Jenny Holzer is a neo-contemporary artist. She is 68 years old and has been working since the late 1970s. Holzer’s work mainly focuses on the display of ideas and words. Many of her pieces employ a public element. For example, she often projects words on buildings, posts flyers, uses billboards, and LED signs.
Holzer was interested in art from her childhood. However, she lost much of her interest and confidence as a teenage. When she regained this, she wanted to be an abstract painter. Holzer is highly educated and has taken many art classes and has multiple degrees. In 1976 she moved to New York City to be a part of the Whitney Independent Study Program. This was when she began her earliest work with text. It was then, in the late 70s in New York City, that she began to receive attention for her work.
Duke University - general art courses
University of Chicago - classes in painting, printmaking, and drawing
Ohio University - BFA in 1972
Rhode Island School of Design - MFA in 1975
I was unable to find any specific gallery representation for Holzer. For a long time, her work was “shown” outside of galleries and museums. It was her original intent to make art outside of those contexts and assessable to the public. She began as a street artist.
Holzer’s work is in collections at 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.
Golden Lion Award for work in the 1990 Venice Biennale
Blair Award from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1982
Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum in 1996
The idea of text being one of the main drivers of an artistic piece is something which I enjoy. I have much of this in my own work, and hope to continue creating pieces in this style.
I love her reaction (in the above video) to being asked in this video if she “is still a feminist in the current era.”
Further Reading and Videos
Featured in Protest: Art in the Twenty-First Century documentary from Art21
Jenny Holzer Made Good Things Out of Horror from The Cut
Conversation with Kiki Smith from Interview
An Interview with Jenny Holzer from Even Magazine
Sounding the Alarm, In Words and Light from The New York Times