Installation and Conceptual artist Jenny Holzer
(American, b.1950) is best known for her use of the light-emitting diode (LED) screen, and her widely recognized Truisms
series. After studying art at Duke University in North Carolina, as well as at the University of Chicago, Holzer earned her BFA at Ohio University in 1972. Holzer entered the MFA program at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1975, and while enrolled, began experimenting with language in the form of installations, anonymous public works, and flyers. In 1977, Holzer began her first truly public series, Truisms
, consisting of provocative one-line aphorisms printed in an italic bold font, confronting the viewer through the unsettling element of truth in each proclamation, such as “men are not monogamous by nature” and “money creates taste.” Such concise allegations elicit public discussion, directly engaging viewers in a larger discourse on society that often broaches polemical issues.
Holzer is often compared to the American artist Barbara Kruger
, who shares a similar affinity for prompting public debate through text. Because of the adaptable nature of Holzer’s art, her work has been adapted for commercial manufacturing, and can be seen on t-shirts, stickers, tote bags, paper weights, benches, and even sarcophagi. Holzer’s work has received much public attention, and has been placed in public areas like Times Square in New York City, as well as projected on the facades of prominent buildings. Her work is represented in museum collections worldwide, and, in 2008, the Whitney Museum in New York organized Protect Protect
, a retrospective of Holzer’s work.