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 (b.1945), 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.

Timeline

1950
Born in Gallipolis, OH
1968–1970
Attended Duke University, Durham, NC
1970–1971
Attended the University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1972
B.F.A., Ohio University, Athens, OH
1977
Independent Study Program, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
M.F.A., Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
1990
Leone d’Oro, XLIV Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy
1994
Honorary Doctorate of Arts, University of Ohio, Athens, OH
Skowhegan Medal for Installation, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME
1996
Crystal Award, World Economic Forum, Geneva, Switzerland
2000
Berlin Prize Fellowship, The American Academy in Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Honorary Doctorate of Arts, Williams College, Williamstown, MA
2001
BZ – Kulturpreis, Berliner Zeitung, Berlin, Germany
2002
Kaiserring, City of Goslar, Germany
Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, France
2003
Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
2003–2004
Resident in Visual Arts, American Academy, Rome, Italy
2004
Public Art Network Award, Americans for the Arts, Washington, D.C., and New York, 2004
2005
Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, New School University, New York, New York
2006
Urban Visionaries Award, The Cooper Union, New York, New York
2009
Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, Massachusetts
2009
Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts
2010
LA MOCA Award for Distinguished Women in the Arts, Los Angeles, California
Lives and works in Hoosick, NY

Exhibitions

2013
Beg, Borrow and Steal - Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA
2013
Language Games - Centro de Artes Visuales Helga de Alvear, Cáceres
2012
The Future Please, L&M, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
Endgame, Skarstedt Gallery, New York, New York (solo)
2011
Jenny Holzer: Retro, Skarstedt Gallery, New York, New York (solo)
Jenny Holzer, Kukje Gallery, Seoul, Korea (solo)
Jenny Holzer, Art Stations Foundation, Poznan, Poland (solo, Accompanied by light projections in Poznan)
2010
Jenny Holzer, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (solo)
Jenny Holzer, DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art, Montreal, Canada (solo)
Jenny Holzer: Retro, Skarstedt Gallery, New York , USA (solo)
TOP SECRET, Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris, France (solo)
ARTIST ROOMS: Jenny Holzer, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, UK
2009
Jenny Holzer: For Siena, Santa Maria della Scala, Sienne, Italy (solo)
Jenny Holzer, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, Switzerland (solo)
Jenny Holzer: 20th anniversary of the Pyramid of the Louvre, Paris, France (solo)
Jenny Holzer, Whitney Museum of Art, New York, NY (solo)
2008
Jenny Holzer, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL (solo)
Detained, Monika Sprüth Philomene Magers, London, England (solo)
Projections, MassMoCa, North Adams, MA (solo)
2007
Secret, Monika Sprüth Philomene Magers, Cologne and Munich, Germany (solo)
Galería Javier López, Madrid, Spain (solo)
Nothing Follows, Yvon Lambert, Paris, France (solo)
Recent Works, the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI (solo)
Jenny Holzer, The Barbara Krakow Gallery, Boston, MA
Jenny Hozer, Beaumontpublic, Luxembourg (solo)
Jenny Holzer, The Museum of Sketches for Public Art, Lund, Sweden (solo)
2006
Jenny Holzer, XX, MAK, Vienna, Austria (solo)
Jenny Holzer, Night Feed, Yvon Lambert, New York, NY (solo)
Jenny Holzer, SCAI the Bathhouse, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
Jenny Holzer, Australian Center for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia (solo)
2004
Jenny Holzer with poetry by Henri Cole, Yvon Lambert, Paris, France (solo)
2003
Jenny Holzer, Mönchehaus Museum, Goslar, Germany (solo)
2002
Protect Me From What I Want: The Multiples and Editioned Works of Jenny Holzer, Printed Matter, Inc., New York, NY (solo)
2001
Festival d’Automne à Paris, Chapelle Saint-Louis de la Salpêtrière, Paris, France (solo)
Jenny Holzer: Oh, Capc Musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France (solo)
Jenny Holzer, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, Germany (solo)
2000
Jenny Holzer, Galeria Luisa Strina, São Paulo, Brazil (solo)
Jenny Holzer, Fundacion Proa, Buenos Aires, Argentina (solo)
1999
Jenny Holzer: Proteja–Me do Que Eu Quero, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (solo, Accompanied by light projections in Rio de Janeiro)
1999
Jenny Holzer: The Living Series, Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich, Germany (solo)
1999
Jenny Holzer: Blue, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, USA (solo)
1998
Jenny Holzer: Blue, Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris, France (solo)
1998
Jenny Holzer: Blue, Monika Sprüth Galerie, Cologne, USA (solo)
1998
Blue, Instituto Cultural Itaú, São Paulo, Brazil (solo)
1997
Jenny Holzer: LUSTMORD, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, USA (solo)
1996–1997
Jenny Holzer: LUSTMORD, Kunstmuseum des Kantons Thurgau, Kartause Ittingen, Warth, Switzerland (solo)
1995–1996
Jenny Holzer: From the Laments Series, 1989,Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA (solo)
1995
Lustmord, Monika Sprüth Galerie, Cologne, USA (solo)
1994–1995
Jenny Holzer, Art Gallery Atrium, Fukuoka, Japan (solo)
1994
Jenny Holzer, Art Tower Mito, Contemporary Art Center, Mito, Japan (solo)
1994
Lustmord, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
1993–1994
Jenny Holzer: The Venice Installation, from the Collection of Mort and Marlene Meyerson, Dallas Museum of Art, USA (solo)
1993
Da Wo Frauen Sterben, Bin Ich Hellwach, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (solo)
1993
Street Art: Jenny Holzer, Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsa, Poland (solo)

Public Collections

Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Tate Collection, London, England
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Literature

2008
Smith, Elizabeth A.T. Jenny Holzer. Germany: Hatje Cantz, 2008.
2007
Storr, Robert. Jenny Holzer: Redaction Paintings. New York: Cheim and Read, 2007.