Contemporary Art, 1960s–present

Conceptual Art and Other Modern Art Movements

Who is Jenny Holzer?

Jenny Holzer (1950–) is a conceptual artist known for text-based installations and public displays. Her earliest work was Truisms (1977—1979), which consisted of anonymous posters hung up around New York City with one-line phrases such as “Protect Me From What I Want,” “Abuse of Power Comes As No Surprise,” and “Expiring For Love Is Beautiful But Stupid.” Along with displaying these truisms on posters, Holzer carved words into public benches, created t-shirts, hats, and more. Later in her career, she began to work with LED (light emitting diode) displays, which has garnered her much critical and popular success. For example, she created a sixty-five-foot-wide, permanent LED display in the lobby of 7 World Trade Center, in which text slowly scrolls. Holzer writes many of her own texts, and during her later career she began to appropriate language from international poets as well as text from unclassified U.S. documents, including interrogation transcripts from Abu Ghraib in Iraq. In this case, Holzer projects private words in a public space, emphasizing the difference between private and public communication.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Art History Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App