Jenny Holzer's medium, whether formulated as a T-shirt, a plaque, or an LED sign, is writing, and the public dimension is integral to the delivery of her work. Starting in the 1970s with her New York City posters, and continuing through her recent light projections on landscape and architecture, Holzer’s practice has rivaled ignorance and violence with humor, kindness, and courage. Holzer is best known for her Truisms – disquieting, succinct, and subversive messages which she conceived of in the 1970s, and have appeared on the theater marquees and digital billboards in Times Square since 1982. Over forty years later, Holzer’s words return to the screens of Times Square with two works designed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic for Messages for the City.
Holzer has presented her astringent ideas, arguments, and sorrows in iconic public spaces and international arts institutions including 7 World Trade Center, the Venice Biennale, the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Holzer received the Leone d’Oro at the Venice Biennale in 1990, the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award in 1996, and the U.S. State Department’s International Medal of Arts in 2017. She holds honorary degrees from Williams College, the Rhode Island School of Design, The New School, and Smith College. She lives and works in New York.