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8 / Writing

For the Guggenheim
For the Guggenheim
Artist / Origin Jenny Holzer (American, b. 1950)
Region: North America
Date September 26–December 31, 2008
Material (Photograph of) light projection
Location Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY
Credit © 2009 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo courtesy of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY

expert perspective

Sylvia WolfDirector of the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington, Seattle

For the Guggenheim

» Jenny Holzer (American, b. 1950)

expert perspective

Sylvia Wolf Sylvia Wolf Director of the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington, Seattle

If we are looking at the written word in art, we have to look at both technological innovation and social, political and economic change. Dispersal of information, both pictorial and information as language, in a common form that becomes used by an artist is recycled, if you will, retrieved from society—what the words mean, and how they are used. The fact that they are taken out of context makes us: A) wonder who did this and why, and what am I supposed to make of it, and B) the conundrum that exists when you’re looking at a piece of information that has a visual form, and draws the viewer’s attention to the intent and to the artist as an author.

Jenny Holzer extracts texts from original sources and makes us think about these words and contemplate them—it’s not just the content, it’s also then the context, where you see them. And it is the form as well; you see them in a form of a commercial sign, and yet you are getting different kinds of information than what you expect in that form in that place and at that time.

One of the things that artistic experience allows is an opportunity to pause and think and reflect.” 

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