Art Commentary

Jenny Holzer (from my research as a curatorial intern)

Jenny Holzer was born in Ohio in 1950. She received her BA and MFA degrees at Ohio University and the Rhode Island School of Design during the 1970s, as well as later receiving three honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Ohio, the Rhode Island School of Design, and New School University, New York.

The main focus of Holzer’s work is the display of words and ideas. Some are her favorite mediums are LED signs, plaques, light projections, T-shirts, and the Internet. Her most famous concept is her “Truisms;” short phrases of text which reveal sometimes shocking or uncomfortable truths. Whether questioning consumerist impulses, describing torture, or exposing blunt domestic realities, Jenny Holzer’s use of language provokes a response in the viewer. While her subversive work often blends in among advertisements in public space, its arresting content violates expectations. Some critics describe her phrases as a cross between a feminist tirade and a sermon from a Protestant pastor.

For an extensive list of Truisms, click here.  They are definitely worth browsing and will force you to decide if you agree or disagree with her statements.

Bruce Nauman, another contemporary artist who enjoys working with words and lights, particularly neon tubing, states in a work [seen below] that “The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths.”  Often I agree with this statement, as they reveal these truths either directly or by making you consider your opinion about the topic in question and then you may discover the mystic truth that you believe, even if it does oppose the message presented work.  Holzer’s works/words offer this same revelation of sorts, and are thus significant to the study of Contemporary culture.

Bruce Nauman, The True Artist Helps The World By Revealing Mystic Truths
Bruce Nauman, The True Artist Helps The World By Revealing Mystic Truths
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One thought on “Jenny Holzer (from my research as a curatorial intern)

  1. Remember when we saw a thing she did at the airport? What airport was it? Schippol or Berlin, I think. It was one of the marquee ones, and I was loving it.

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