Art of the 20th century can be characterized by the common feature of progressing the definition of art and constantly challenging the relationship between artist, art and viewer; the ability to do this while utilizing new technologies that appeal to the modern world and current events is what makes Jenny Holzer a stand-out artist of the 20th century. With an expansive resume and a variety of different mediums, Holzer has pushed her art forward by not only questioning what can be considered art, but also by exploring different styles and techniques to broadcast her message to as many viewers as possible. She bridges the gap between poet and artist, using words as her chosen form of expression; however, rather than writing or speaking them, she expresses her message visually, incorporating new media techniques to subconsciously emphasize the meaning within words. In comparing her earlier works to the more recognizable digital installations, a connective thread runs throughout: a need to express inner thoughts and political ideals. Whether through words or visual expression, Holzer has managed to capture audiences throughout the years and remain a relevant artist no matter what time period or technique she employs in her work.
[...] Although the proportions have been enlarged, these paintings are clearly reproductions of letters and documents, and upon closer inspection, one can see that they are government documents pertaining to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan (Antenna Audio). The painted portion of Protect Protect exemplifies the exhibition's name, but perhaps not as comfortingly as the name might suggest. Instead, the viewer comes to realize through viewing these pieces that the protection to which Holzer refers is an element of self protection imposed by the United States Government. [...]
[...] Strong ties to artistic movements of the past build a foundation for Jenny Holzer's ideals and style of making art, both visual and written. While all of Holzer's textual work relies on context (Hughes), the LED projections introduce a new element of technology: digital programming Whatever the medium, a visual aspect exists, even in the simplest written words, but the possibilities become nearly endless when digital programming is introduced into the work. Holzer has stated “while the choice of the text is important in filling up the space, the programming aspect allows for pauses, flashing light, and phrasing (Sollins).” The introduction of programming likely propelled Holzer's work into the realm of site-specific installations since moving text would need to utilize the space in a way that mimicked the shape and structure of the space. [...]
[...] For many critics the artistic substance of Holzer's work lies in its text: dematerialized into language, stripped of authorial voice, and directly engaged, as a result, with the precedent of Conceptual art (Hughes).” Jenny Holzer's merging of written word with visual stimulation and sculptural elements define her as a visionary conceptualist who, even today, progresses the idea of what can be considered art. Known more as an artist than a writer, this simple classification shows that Holzer has redefined the term of artist, just as many great progressive artists of the past have done. [...]
[...] As an artist of the 20th century, Jenny Holzer has pushed the boundaries of artistic expression, both visually and verbally. With a passion for the written word, Holzer constantly finds innovative ways to use text to not only express her message, but also appeal visually to her viewers. A pioneer of installation art, she constantly utilizes the newest technologies and traditional sculptural elements to best suit the installation site. Holzer constantly fills her work with politically- charged messages to expose the public to issues about which they might otherwise be uninformed. [...]
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