December 18, 2008 - Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago - Jenny Holzer
December 18, 2008

Jenny Holzer

Jenny Holzer
Red Yellow Looming, 2004
© 2008 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria
Text: U.S. government documents
Lent by Cari and Michael J. Sacks
© 2008 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Photo: Attilio Maranzano.

Through February 1, 2009

220 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611

Jenny Holzer, one of the leading artists of her generation whose career spans thirty years, is the subject of a major exhibition organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Chicago, in partnership with the Fondation Beyeler in Basel, Switzerland.

Holzer is considered one of the most significant and pioneering contemporary artists, both for her approach to language and for her use of nontraditional media and public settings for her work. The frequent presence of her work in non-art as well as art world contexts reveals Holzer’s commitment to connecting with the public about issues of social and cultural importance. Her work pairs the use of text and the centrality of installation to examine emotional and societal realities. Seamlessly blending form and content, her work is characterized by formal beauty and conceptual rigor. The exhibition, Jenny Holzer: PROTECT PROTECT is on view at the MCA from October 25, 2008, to February 1, 2009.

Holzer has consistently and inventively challenged people’s assumptions about the world we live in through a multiplicity of contradictory voices, opinions, and attitudes that form the basis of our society. Alternating between fact and fiction, the public and the private, the universal and the particular, Holzer’s work offers an incisive portrait of our times.

The exhibition at the MCA is Holzer’s largest and most comprehensive in the United States in over 15 years. Beginning with its fall 2008 presentation at the MCA in Chicago, the exhibition travels to other museums in the United States and Europe during 2009-10 where its components are reconfigured by the artist at each venue as the basis for a site-specific installation. The exhibition is curated by Elizabeth Smith, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Programs at the MCA.

Content and Structure of the Exhibition
Jenny Holzer: PROTECT PROTECT unites political bravura with visual sensitivity and beauty, centering on Holzer’s work since the 1990s. The exhibition is not a conventional survey; it offers several distinct but related bodies of work in a range of media in which Holzer has worked in recent years. These include major new works using LED technology, sculpture, light projection pieces, and groupings of new paintings of government documents made available through the Freedom of Information Act. Holzer chooses existing texts from sources ranging from these official documents to poetry and literature to her own earlier series. The works in the exhibition foreground the way in which Holzer continues to innovate artistically while elaborating on themes that have been the touchstones of her practice: pain, love, peace, and survival.

LED Works and Installations
The LED sign is Holzer’s signature medium—a vehicle she has used in differing configurations and contexts since the early 1980s, from simpler, horizontal wall-mounted versions to more recent sculptural and architectural examples. In this exhibition, Holzer presents several major new LED works that are shown for the first time in the U.S. For Chicago (2007-08), to be configured at the MCA as a major floor installation, is programmed with a “retrospective” of her writings from the late 1970s through the 1990s from such series as Truisms, Living, Survival, Under a Rock, Mother and Child, War, and Lustmord.

Erin Baldwin | 312.397.3828 |
Karla Loring | 312.397.3834 |
Sarah Wambold | 312.397.3832 |

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
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