Monday, April 19, 2010

Jenny Holzer - Feminist Artist

"Holzer has carved texts into marble and written them in blood-red ink on flesh. Often the phrases hurtle by with ferocious speed, sometimes too fast to read. But the resistance that Holzer encounters in choosing them remains central to the challenging experience of reading them, and to her contentious engagement with subjects that are themselves of surpassing difficulty: injustice and deprivation, political and sexual violence, death, rage, grief." (Princenthal, 2007)

I've already mentioned Jenny Holzer in my previous post, but I'd like to revisit her again. I love her words, even though she's proclaimed, "I hate to write. I really hate to write." (Princenthal, 2007) I much prefer she short, concise messages to her longer ones. I think these pack more of a punch and can be more easily recognizable. The every day person can walk by and read this message. They don't have to stop and read the whole thing, they can read it quickly and get the message.
I think that's so important to both the feminism and art movements. People today don't want to have to go into a gallery and look at art. They want something public, something that they can walk by every day. Something public that gets people talking about the subject. Be loud, be brash, and be out there. I don't think there is any other way to better get what you want to say out there.

Holzer states: “I want the meaning to be available but I also want it sometimes to disappear into fractured reflections or into the sky. Because one’s focus comes and goes, one’s ability to understand what’s happening ebbs and flows. I like the representation of language to be the same. This tends not only to give the content to people, but it will also pull them to attend.” (Shindler, 2007)

The thing I like most about Holzer is how she spread her Truisms. "Printed cheaply and without emphasis on visual style, they were pasted by night on walls and windows in the SoHo and less art-friendly Manhattan neighbourhoods." (Princenthal, 2007) Some of these Truisms include: "Everything that's interesting is new", "Any surplus is immoral", "Children are the cruelest of all", "An elite is inevitable", and "Crime against property is relatively unimportant." (Princenthal, 2007)

Since Holzer's work is so straightforward, I would just like to post a few of her word art pieces. I feel that they speak sufficiently for themselves.

Princenthal, Nancy. "Jenny Holzer: Language Lessons." After the Revolution: Women Who Transformed Contemporary Art. New York, NY: Prestel, 2007. Print.

Shindler, Kelly. "Spotlight on Protest: Jenny Holzer." Art:21 Blog. Art:21, 1 Nov 2007. Web. 19 Apr 2010.

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