In the late 1970's and early 1980's she would wheat paste her work onto telephone booths in lower manhattan.

It was almost a form of subliminal, subversive advertising, countering the effects of corporate americas incessant exhortations to consume.

It was only in the mid 1980's that she began to work with the LED technology that has become associated with her.

“Die fast and quiet when they interrogate you, or live so long that they are ashamed to hurt you anymore."- Holzer This is the only piece of Holzer’s work that can be found in her home.

Jenny Holzer (American, b. 1950) is a conceptual and installation artist. Holzer’s earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting and printmaking from Ohio University in 1972. She went on to earn her Master of Fine Arts degree from Rhode Island School of Design in 1977. It was here at RISD that Holzer first began to introduce language into her artwork.

Jenny Holzer put her mark on the American art world in 1979 (literally and metaphorically) when she plastered New York City with her “Truisms” posters. Her installations have created a new medium for visual arts: text. The words themselves become the images making the viewer at least stop and think for a moment. Even if the response to the text is that it is silly, at least Holzer has made the viewer pause and ponder. Her phrases may seem like clichés but they are all written by Holzer.

Holzer’s work began as still text but has now moved toward more advanced technology. She is currently working on an instillation in conjunction with Intel and Sense8 for the Guggenheim SoHo. With this shift toward technology Holzer hopes to bring her art to the attention of people outside the art world. Holzer believes that Intel and Sense8 have opposite goals of bring technology into the art world and seeing if it can survive. Either way the use of technology will certainly bring more people to the attention of Holzer’s work. "If you want to reach a general audience, it's not art issues that are going to compel them to stop on their way to lunch, it has to be life issues."-Holzer

Holzer’s installations are both ephemeral and permanent. Images on scrolling LEDs and the like are obviously temporary but evidence of their existence lives through photography. A granite table inscribed with her words is quite permanent. Her work has moved back to the ephemeral. In response to this shift Holzer says, “I'm always more at ease when something doesn't actually exist. {laughs}That's my preference. I like things that are just electrical impulse and no more. Not necessarily neutral, but fleeting.”

Holzer’s The Living Series, in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, inspired music by Eugene Huddleston.

“Do you try to live by most/any of your truisms?”- kjean

“I live them all. To write them I had to imagine them.”-Holzer

Holzer’s first World Wide Web project, Please Change Beliefs can be viewed at:

Those who inspired Holzer:

“My grandmother because she saved me from my grandfather.”-Holzer Nancy Spero“Her insistence on women's bodies as appropriate subject matter.”-Holzer Louise Bourgeois

Other artists who use text:

Joseph Kosuth Barbara Kruger Victor Burgin Bruce Nauman Lawrence Weiner

Other installation artists:

Sandy Skoglund Andy Goldsworthy Louise Bourgeois Martin Creed Judy Pfaff

Sources and Images:

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