For more than forty years, American artist Jenny Holzer has presented her astringent ideas, arguments, and sorrows in public places and international exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale, the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Her medium, whether formulated as a T-shirt, a plaque, or an electronic sign, is text. Starting in the 1970s with a series of posters around New York City, and continuing through her recent light projections on landscape and architecture, her practice has rivaled ignorance and violence with humor, kindness, and courage.
From March 22 – September 9, 2019, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao will present an exhibition of Jenny Holzer, the largest to date. Curated by Petra Joos in collaboration with the artist, the show will highlight Frank Gehry's architecture through site-responsive installations. Works will include Truisms and Inflammatory Essays posters with text in five languages, cast plaques, and painted metal signs that reference Holzer's beginnings in street art, as well as engraved benches and stone sarcophagi. Drawings, objects, and ephemera from the artist's archive will complement these early works.
More recent oil paintings and watercolors of publicly released U.S. documents will trace Holzer's response to government redaction and distribution of information after the events of 9/11. New robotic assemblies, especially conceived for the show, will animate electronic signs that scroll text, sometimes illuminating human bones.
The exhibition also will include a selection of works on paper and sculptures by artists who have been influential to Holzer's practice, including Rosa Bonheur, Paul Klee, Louise Bourgeois, Paul Thek, Charles Burchfield, Kiki Smith, Lee Lozano, and Nancy Spero, among others.
Curated by Petra Joos in collaboration with the artist.
Memorial Bench II: Eye cut by flying glass…, 1996 (detail)
Indiana Buff limestone bench
44.1 x 182.9 x 61 cm
Text: Erlauf, 1995
Courtesy the artist
© 2019 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY / VEGAP
Photo: Erik Sumption