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Jenny Holzer: Signs and Benches

DATES May 05, 1988 through July 18, 1988
COLLECTIONS Contemporary Art
  • May 1, 1988 Jenny Holzer: Signs and Benches, a site-specific installation of works by the contemporary American artist Jenny Holzer, is on view in the Grand Lobby of The Brooklyn Museum through July 18. The exhibition comprises five electronic signs and nine granite benches that display text with themes of sex, death, and war. The brightly colored, moving signs signify the changing technology within our environment and contrast sharply with the static benches, which are an unmistakable reference to cemetery stelae.

    Jenny Holzer was born in Gallipolis, Ohio in 1950. The artist was trained as a painter and studied at various schools including Duke University and Rhode Island School of Design before coming to New York in 1976 to join the Independent Study Program of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

    Holzer’s art reflects a common aspect of American life in her use of signs, posters, and slogans. In 1977 Holzer began using language as both the medium and message of her work by pasting up posters anonymously around New York City. Her text ranges from one-liners to complex elegies and first appeared in window displays as posters and photostats, and later as bronze plaques and commercially painted signs, marking a switch from radical, urgent messages to a neutral, authoratative format. Holzer’s techniques and materials for reproducing her messages have expanded to include such advanced technologies as electronic signs.

    The Grand Lobby installations are made possible, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1988, 054.
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