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Jenny Holzer (born 1950 in Gallipolis, Ohiomarker) is an Americanmarker conceptual artist. She attended Ohio Universitymarker (in Athens, Ohiomarker), Rhode Island School of Designmarker, and the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Artmarker. Holzer was originally an abstract artist, focusing on painting and printmaking; after moving to New York Citymarker in 1977, she began working with text as art. She was an active member of the artist's group Colab.

The main focus of her work is the use of words and ideas in public space. Originally utilizing street posters, LED signs became her most visible medium, though her diverse practice incorporates a wide array of media including bronze plaques, painted signs, stone benches and footstools, stickers, T-shirts, condoms, paintings, photographs, sound, video, light projection and the Internet.


  • Truisms (1977–) is probably her most well-known work. Holzer has compiled a series of statements and aphorisms ("truisms") and has publicised them in a variety of ways: listed on street posters, in telephone booths, and even, in 1982, or on one of Times Square's gigantic LED billboards.

  • Inflammatory Essays (1978–79), in which she brought texts influenced by Trotsky, Hitler, Mao, Lenin, and Emma Goldman onto the streets
  • Living Series (early 1980s), using more monumental media such as bronze plaques and billboards
  • Survival Series (1983–1985), with more militant aphorisms, including "Men Don't Protect You Anymore," a phrase reproduced on condoms and street billboards alike
  • Under a Rock
  • Lament
  • Child Text, a piece on motherhood for the 1990 Venice Biennale
  • Green Table (1992), a large granite picnic table with inscriptions, part of the Stuart Collectionmarker of public art on the campus of the University of California, San Diegomarker
  • Please Change Beliefs (1995), created for the internet art gallery adaweb.
  • Installation for the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (1997) Permanent Installation, located off the main room of the Guggenheim Bilbao, with tall LED columns of text in English (red, on the front side) and Basque (blue, on the back side).
  • Protect Me From What I Want, The 15th iteration of the famous BMW Art Car Project. Painted on the BMW V12 LMR, the aforementioned refrain is written in metal foil, outlined with phosphorescent paint. In addition, the phrase "You are so complex, you don't respond to danger" is written on the cars sidepods. The car was withdrawn from the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans, but saw active competition for the 2000 Petit Le Mans, finishing fifth overall.
  • Terminal 5 In 2004, the dormant Saarinen-designed TWA Flight Center marker at John F. Kennedy International Airport marker briefly hosted an art exhibition called Terminal Five, curated by Rachel K. Ward featuring the work of 18 artists. Holzer's work displayed electronically on the terminals original departure-arrival board — Holzer had wanted the work projected onto the building's exterior, but airport officials denied the request, noting they could interfere with runway operations.
  • For the City (2005), nighttime projections of declassified government documents on the exterior of New York Universitymarker's Bobst Library, and poetry on the exteriors of Rockefeller Centermarker and the New York Public Librarymarker in Manhattan
  • The Black Garden of Nordhorn, the artist was commissioned to redesign a memorial to the fallen of Germany’s three previous wars, including World War II. Next to the existing monolithic monument, she designed a circular garden consisting of concentric rings of plantings and pathways.
  • For the Capitol (2007), nighttime projections of quotes by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Theodore Roosevelt about the role of art and culture in American Society. Projected from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Artsmarker onto the Potomac River and Roosevelt Island in Washington DCmarker.
  • Redaction Paintings (2008), reproduced recently released declassified memos with much of the text blacked out by censors.


  • "Expiring for love is beautiful but stupid."
  • "The most profound things are inexpressible."
  • "Lack of charisma can be fatal."
  • "Sloppy thinking gets worse over time."
  • "There's something about light that's right for these terrible subjects. It's a way of having beauty let you come closer than you might otherwise."

See also

Detail of 7 WTC installation


  1. Truisms
  2. Please Change Beliefs
  3. Adaweb
  4. Jenny Holzer's For the City
  5. Udo Weilacher, In Gardens: Profiles of Contemporary European Landscape Architecture. Boston: Birkhäuser, 2005.
  6. 'For the Capitol': Illuminated Reflections on the Potomac

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