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As both an exhibitor in public and private spaces, Holzer is keenly aware of the effects of her work on both the intentional and the casual passerby.She is inspired by reading, world events, and the contexts of her own life, though she seeks to be “out of view and out of earshot” in order to lend her work a voice of truth and trustworthiness.In the late 1970s she put aphorisms on billboards, signs, and posters hung throughout the streets of Manhattan.
Though the phrasing of these posters was original, she sought to tap into universal sentiments that would seem familiar as ideas.
“I want them to be accessible,” she said, “but not so easy that you throw them away after a second or two." Holzer’s work has always been intertwined with technology, and in 1992 she began using LED signs for a project commissioned by the Public Art Fund for Times Square.
By her own admission, she was only a decent third generation American abstract painter, as she felt that there was a more relevant way to communicate the fast-paced media culture that was on the rise in the late 70s and early 80s.
Motivated by the conviction that her work ought to include discernible content (rather than the formal content of abstraction), but feeling the genre of social realism to be increasingly of the past, Holzer began placing words in her work, often in the form of found objects such as scraps of newspaper and other clippings.
Jenny Holzer was born in Gallipolis, Ohio, where she grew up the oldest of three children.
Her mother was an active participant in the community and her father was a car salesman.It was at this point that she began placing her work in public spaces to test their effect on passers-by.The realization that art could engage people who did not intend to see it, moving them to think or even provoking them to argue, motivated her to pursue text-based work.In her last year as an MFA student at RISD, Holzer rethought the inclusion of words in her work by using her own.She wrote a selection of one liners which were meant to distill truths encountered almost daily in Western civilization, which she then assembled into a series of posters.Holzer’s next few years were itinerant, seeing her leave Duke to enroll at the University of Chicago and then at Ohio University in Athens, where she received her BFA in Painting and Printmaking.Holzer would go on to receive her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence.Jenny Holzer is a Conceptual artist best known for her text-based public art projects.Holzer's work speaks of violence, oppression, sexuality, feminism, power, war and death.The material of these signs—whether they be LED lights of the carved stone of her Holzer’s work centers around text and its placement in public spaces.Using billboards, jumbotrons, lighted signs, and walls, Holzer uses city streets and areas of public interaction as her canvas.